I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Best Guests

I've recently noticed that some of my favorite television shows of the past are really losing steam, most notably, The Office. It is fairly clear that the original story that The Office was intended to tell has already been told, but since ratings remain high these completed stories are still being developed, dragging us from the boring life of engaged Jim and Pam to the boring life of married Jim and Pam to the boring life of parental Jim and Pam. By now you've probably heard that Steve Carell is leaving The Office after the end of this season but that the series is set to continue without him despite the fact that it has been unoriginal and uninteresting for nearly two full seasons. The public is now trying to decide who should replace Carell as The Office's lead character and regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton.

I don't want to be left out of the discussion of possible additions to the cast of The Office, but I also don't want to limit the discussion to The Office alone. Television programs have commonly brought in guest stars or added actors to their cast in order to breathe life into a dying story, but guests are also an important part of several of the most popular television programs on the market. 30 Rock, for example, follows the format of Saturday Night Live in many ways, feeding us interesting guest star after interesting guest star. If I'm not mistaken I think they even featured James Franco as himself, only he was in love with a Japanese body pillow.

The following is a list of funny television programs and the guest actors who would complement them best:

30 Rock

Before I talk about why Justin Timberlake would be the best addition to the cast of 30 Rock, I'd like to applaud those who do casting for the show for getting Matt Damon to play Liz Lemon's love interest Carol. I had been kind of bored with the show for a couple of months, but when Damon appeared in the season finale as a quirky pilot who loves TGS a spark reignited for the show. My first thought, when thinking of who would work well with 30 Rock, was a play off of Matt Damon's character Carol. I thought it would be interesting to have Ben Affleck join the mix, creating a love triangle between Damon, Affleck and Fey. It would be funny first of all because of their camaraderie in creating Good Will Hunting, but mostly because of the recent staged fight between Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel that the two got caught up in.

Ben Affleck is too obvious, and there's no promise that he would be any near as good as Matt Damon turned out to be for the show. That's why I think Justin Timberlake would be the best choice. I'm a huge Justin Timberlake fan, but honestly that has little to do with why he would be perfect. Like Alec Baldwin, Justin Timberlake keeps getting called back time after time to host and re-host Saturday Night Live, the program that this show is loosely based on. He is also responsible for one of NBC's most watched videos of the last decade, the infamous Dick in a Box music video. He just has a chemistry with these people and is incredibly funny, and honestly, I don't think it's so hard any more to prove the case that Justin Timberlake is developing into a fantastic actor. Like James Franco, Timberlake has proven that he has a sense of humor about himself, which means that he would be ready for any sort of embarrassing character traits the writers would throw at him.

Big Bang Theory

I think it was season one when Big Bang Theory first featured one of Johnny Galecki's co-stars from Roseanne. Since then, both Laurie Metcalf (Mary Cooper, Sheldon's mother) and Sara Gilbert (Leslie Winkle, Leonard's on-again off-again fling) have made repeat appearances, and since then, I have been crossing my fingers that John Goodman would be the next. I think I'm probably the only one these days who sees it, and probably because everyone's so tickled by the bombardment of Huzzahs and Bazingas, but Big Bang Theory really hasn't been all that interesting for a while. It seems, like The Office, to have overstepped its original story and continues to coast on the infinite references that can be made to comic books and quantum mechanics. I honestly think that as long as Marvel and DC are making movies, there will be an audience for this show. If we're going to watch it for several years to come, then I want to see John Goodman become a major player, possibly Penny's out-of-work father who crashes at her apartment "until he can get his act together." Maybe it'll even develop from a Roseanne reunion to a Big Lebowski reunion when some of his buddies played by Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. The possibilities are endless when you have John Goodman on your cast.


A show like Community thrives on guest stars, needing fun new actors every week to play a professor or classmate at Greendale. The lead actors are veritable Kevin Bacons of connections to other actors, from the old school SNL connections of Chevy Chase (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, etc.) to the various entertaining hosts of The Soup that Joel McHale grants us access to (Greg Kinnear, Aisha Tyler). But my choice for guest star of Community is a cry for justice. Maybe some of you remember the internet sensation surrounding Donald Glover and his campaign to be considered for the upcoming fourth Spider-Man movie. The people of the internet could accomplish such inane things as getting Betty White to host SNL and yet we couldn't elect a black Spider-Man? I think that Andrew Garfield, the kid they chose to play the new Spider-Man, should show up on Community, on Donald Glover's turf.

How I Met Your Mother

This choice was hard. With Alyson Hannigan you gain access to the cast of one of my favorite television programs Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With Neil Patrick Harris you get the whole Harold and Kumar cast. But I want to go even further back into Harris's career. And I'm not talking about Starship Troopers. I think that How I Met Your Mother would benefit most by re-uniting NPH with his original wing man, Max Casella. On Doogie Howser, MD, Casella's character Vinnie climbed in Harris's (Howser's) window on a daily basis. It's time for these two to become the Maverick and Goose of bird dogging, to show Ted Mosby what he could have become if he could just keep up with Barney's compendium of rules and illustrations.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I was originally going to sit on this blog idea for a while to see if I could brainstorm more ideas, but yesterday my good friend Josh, whose brilliant blog Fat Train deals with all the best and worst the worlds of television and film have to offer us, put some fire under me. During a class we both attend, he wrote a blog titled It's Always Funny in Philadelphia in which he linked his internet followers to this very blog post before it was even written. I thank Josh for his kind words and for introducing his people to my blog, but I also begrudge him for forcing me to be less lazy with my blogging.

The reason Josh prophesied this particular blog post is because we were discussing a recent episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in which (SPOILERS!!!!!) Dee is revealed to be carrying the child of an unknown father. We both expressed that this would be the perfect time to invite a new actor onto the show and explain him as Dee's baby daddy. For some time now, I've wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger to join the cast as Danny DeVito's twin brother, calling, of course, back to the film Twins. Since we all know that Dee and Dennis were actually sired by Stephen Collins, TV's Reverend Eric Camden from Seventh Heaven, it wouldn't be completely tasteless for Dee's non-blood-related uncle to be the father of her child. It would be taboo, sure, but taboo is what keeps this show on the air.

The Office

My brilliant idea for the actor to replace Steve Carell on The Office was Michael J. Fox. He once had his own office, but it was taken away from him by Charlie Sheen. Now he's looking for an office of his own once again, and by golly, it looks like there's an opening. It would have been easy to write a decent amount about why this would be awesome, starting with the renewed focus on Back to the Future since the release of video of Eric Stoltz as the original Marty McFly.

To write an article about that would betray my sentiment that it is time for The Office to end. It is foolish to continue that show without Steve Carell, and I will not join in the speculations for his replacement because nobody should ever replace him. They need to suck it up, end the show, and start working on new pilots that promise to entertain people the way The Office did for its first few years. With an endgame in sight, there is only one choice that anyone can entertain for a guest star on The Office. That is the return of Amy Ryan as Michael's greatest love interest of all time, Holly Flax. In proper The Office fashion, things would look really grim for a long time, but Michael Scott would show a hidden reservoir of character that gives Michael and Holly some hope of being together. And that's where we end. The end of this season is the dignified end of this series. If it were to be done right, it would have happened closer to the time of the marriage of Jim and Pam, but it can still be done well.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tears for Fears - Waiting in Line

Get in line with the things you know.
Tears For Fears, "The Hurting" from The Hurting (1983)

I'm already getting sore from standing in line. Amy is bouncy and bubbly, her energy boiling over as she remains stationary.

There's a couple in front of us with expensive beers. He's bristled from head to toe with thick dark hair and leaning back with the confidence of a tried and true intellectual. Her eyes are big and searching, but right now they are focused on the man, who is rambling about Tears for Fears, and she is beaming. The couple is a good decade or two older than me and Amy.

"He's just trying to impress her," I whisper to Amy, trying to impress her. "Probably making it up as he goes. And he can get away with it too. It's clear that she doesn't know any better."
Amy gets closer to the couple without detection, an advantage that short, cute girls like her have over us large, imposing men.

"He said that Elemental and Raoul and the Kings of Spain should have been attributed to 'Tear for Fear' because they were essentially Roland's solo albums."

I had just been texting a couple of friends regarding my problems with the album Elemental compared to earlier Tears for Fears albums.

"This guy really knows his stuff."

The man recounts to his lady-friend (girlfriend? fiancee? wife?) an abridged history of Tears for Fears. I heard none of it, but I imagine it went something like this:

"When one talks about the foundation of The Beatles one imagines the monolithic moment when John Lennon first ran into a young Paul McCartney. But the Beatles was more than Lennon and McCartney; The Beatles was George Harrison and Ringo Starr as well! The same is not true for Tears for Fears. The story of Tears for Fears is the story of Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith. Unlike the Beatles, Tears for Fears is a band that begins with the monolithic meeting of two individuals.

"Curt and Roland were teenagers when they met over thirty years ago in Bath, England. They got by as session musicians for British bands Neon and Graduate before forming Tears for Fears (originally History of Headaches) in 1981. The band was influenced by musical geniuses like David Byrne, Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno, as well as psychological geniuses like Arthur Janov, whose Primal Therapy is the inspiration for the name Tears for Fears.

"The debut Tears for Fears album, The Hurting, released in 1983, is a concept album intended to address the emotional distress of Orzabel's childhood with Janov's techniques of Primal Therapy. It is dark and universal, an exposition of the difficulty of youth, strange and accessible. The Hurting begins the trend of strong synthesizer-based songs, beautiful, but also unfortunate in that attention is shifted away from Orzabel's edgy and biting guitar work, some of the best the decade has to offer. While The Hurting reaches #1 in the U.K., it is relatively unsuccessful outside of the British Isles.

"Their sophomore album, Songs from the Big Chair, released in 1985, is likely the most significant album of the '80s, both creating and capturing the sound of a decade haunted by the ghost of George Orwell's prophetic political novel Nineteen Eighty-Four as substantiated by Reagan and Thatcher and of a people embarking upon an inward journey into an emotional heart of darkness. The album sky-rocketed to #1 on the U.S. charts, bringing with it the singles 'Shout' and 'Everybody Wants to Rule the World.' (The first single from the album, 'Mother's Talk' was obviously too far ahead of its time to gain popular acclaim. This is the only reason I can think of that it too wasn't also a #1 hit in America.) Like The Hurting, Songs from the Big Chair is grounded in popular psychology, specifically the Flora Rheta Schreiber novel titled Sybil and the subsequent television miniseries of the same name. Sybil Dorsett (pseudonym for Shirley Ardell Mason), the main character, is a woman with multiple personality disorder who finds comfort and refuge in the 'big chair' of her therapist. Presumably, it is this therapist's 'big chair' that serves as the stage from which Curt and Roland perform the various songs of the album, transforming "Shout" into a kind of 'shout for help.'

"Seldom does a band attain such heights of perfection regarding their first three musical attempts as Tears for Fears did upon release of the 1989 album The Seeds of Love. The album, like Songs from the Big Chair, topped the U.S. charts, but unlike its predecessor, The Seeds of Love was incapable of producing any number one singles. While the singles were obviously not as successful, it can be argued that they are of a higher quality, from the Lennon-esque tribute to love in the face of political confusion of 'Sowing the Seeds of Love' to the slow feminist funk of 'Woman in Chains,' featuring the sexy vocals of Oleta Adams and drum work of none other than Phil Collins, to the Latin styling of 'Advice for the Young at Heart' and quiet anthem of 'Famous Last Words.' It's likely that nobody loves this album more than Oleta Adams, a singer / pianist that Orzabel and Smith discovered in a Kansas City hotel bar who was able to turn her time with Tears for Fears into a successful solo career.

"The next two albums, Elemental and Raoul and the Kings of Spain should have been attributed to 'Tear for Fear' because they were essentially Roland's solo albums. Neither of them gained commercial success, but the latter, Raoul and the Kings of Spain, allowed Orzabel another chance to delve into the depths of his own past. This time he was not as interested with the difficulty of childhood as with his Spanish heritage. Raoul is the name of Orzabel's firstborn son, but it is also the name his own parents originally intended to call him before settling on the name Roland. Not only is the album something of a family reunion, but it also features a reunion with singer Oleta Adams on the song 'Me and My Big Ideas.'

"Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, released in 2004, is presumably the last album by Tears for Fears. This is witnessed both by the name of the album and the fact that the band has been active ever since 2004 in not putting out albums. In a world haunted by bands like KISS and Black Sabbath, who alternate between farewell tours and reunion tours because both present a sense of urgency that allows them to sell tickets for a higher price, I am happy that there is a band like Tears for Fears. A younger listener might shout for more albums because they just want more Tears for Fears. An older listener might complain that they've already released too many. I admire that Tears for Fears placed a period at the end of their discography and ended the way they wanted to. They have neither burned out nor faded away. They have recorded their story, and now they continue to recount that story live."

"I'm pretty excited to hear that story tonight," says the woman. "Oh! Hey! The line is moving!"

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Letter to the CDC

Dr. Thomas R. Friedman, MD, MPH
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dear Dr. Friedman:

Recently I had the pleasure to meet with a good friend of mine named Allie for ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. What began as a very enjoyable encounter quickly took a turn toward terror when Allie spotted a woman that I can only describe to you as a "carrier."

I call this woman a "carrier" because Allie explained to me that this woman was infected with herpes and has been spreading this disease to a great many people for some time now. I believe her immediate response, upon seeing this "carrier," was, "Iew! Don't go new that girl!" Allie wouldn't go into detail, but she was firm in her position that this woman is a threat to public health.

Outside of the film Outbreak, I don't know much about your policies concerning contagion, but I ask that you act quickly. Most of my family currently resides in Grand Rapids and it would break my heart to see the good people of West Michigan wiped off the map as a result of our inaction. Furthermore, I've read the terrible reports of the destruction of Europe due to the bubonic plague. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine that this herpes she speaks of is quite similar to Europe's bubonic plague and the deadly Motaba virus of the Outbreak. This means that the entire world could be threatened by a simple city-wide contagion.

I trust that you'll deal with this herpes pandemic quickly and decisively. (If it helps, the carrier was last seen at the Celebration Cinemas mall at Knapp St. and the East Beltline.) What I'm currently wondering is if there's anything I can do to survive the herpes plague myself. I'll admit that I fear the idea of living in a world where most of the people I used to know are gone, but I also recognize that someone needs to soldier on in order to rebuild the world post-herpes. Shoudl I stock up on fresh water? Should I avoid human contact? Should I wash my jeans more often?

I appreciate the existence of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To think that I might live next to carriers and not have a centralized authority that I can rat them out to is frightening. Wouldn't you agree? I thank you for keeping us safe!

I hope that you can find the time to write me back regarding both how you plan to respond to this herpes threat and what I should do in order to save myself and those dear to me.

Yours in vigilance,
Justin Tiemeyer

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Describing Television Shows I Enjoy As If I Do Not Enjoy Them 2

1. 30 Rock

Neither Saturday night nor live. Discuss.

2. Beavis and Butt-Head

Motivating good Christian children to become demon-worshiping arsonists since 1993.


You've seen Gilligan's Island, right? Throw in some nonsensical monsters and you get the gist.

4. The Ren & Stimpy Show

Quite possibly the reason people of our generation have deemed defecating on another person's chest an acceptable sexual act.

5. Saved by the Bell

The only difference between the teens deified in Saved by the Bell and the ones who made high school a living hell for you for four years is that Zack Morris breaks the fourth wall.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Akinator, the Web Genius

Think of somebody, real or fictional, human or otherwise, some sort of character or being or whatever. Akinator asks you a series of questions and then almost always guesses exactly who you are thinking of, no matter how obscure and nerdy your character is. The first time I used Akinator I decided to stump him by choosing Die Fledermaus, the superhero from the hit Saturday morning cartoon, The Tick. He asked a series of questions, none of them really pertaining to my character. I was certain that I had stumped Akinator. Almost immediately, he guessed "Die Fledermaus." It was magnificent. It's really hard to stump Akinator, and it's really fun to try. Check out Akinator, the Web Genius here.

Come back to this blog and post your character and whether or not Akinator was able to identify it. Here's a list of my attempts:

Die Fledermaus (The Tick) - CORRECT!
Jacques Derrida - STUMPED!
Felicia Day - CORRECT!
Descartes' Evil Genius - STUMPED!
Claptrap (Borderlands) - CORRECT!
The Great Daryl Nathan - STUMPED!
Bork (Muppets) - CORRECT!
Vi (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) - CORRECT!
Brand (Game of Thrones) - CORRECT!
Matt Buchanan (Terminator [we incorrectly thought his name was Brad, but it did not change the answers we gave Akinator]) - STUMPED!
Rusty Collins (X-Factor) - STUMPED!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ted Danson

Actor Ted Danson. I nearly decided to scrap this feature actor article and write a much larger article titled Three Dansons, which would document the three incredibly different television characters Sam Malone (Cheers), Dr. John Becker (Becker), and George Christopher (Bored to Death). Maybe I'll still write that article some day (either that or Three Jokers: Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger), but for now I find it important to note that there are more than three Dansons. There's Ted Danson as himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm. There's Ted Danson the movie actor (3 Men and a Baby). There's Ted Danson the cardboard cutout that's commonly mistaken for a ghost (3 Men and a Baby). There's Tiny Danson. There's Ted Danson the guy who made a fool out of himself while dating Whoopie Goldberg. I want to celebrate all of the Dansons right now, especially George Christopher from Bored to Death.

The Matrix Screen Saver

In 1999, when The Matrix came out in theaters you could purchase a screen saver that emulated the visual themes of the film. The screen saver would tell you that the Matrix has you or prompt you to follow the white rabbit, just like Neo's computer told him. The trouble was that this program cost money, and that information ought to be free.

I was recently hanging out with my good friend Stephan, who, eleven years later, is still rocking his The Matrix screen saver, and it's still one of the best screen savers I've ever seen. Meticulous Software developed a freeware version that looks incredibly authentic, and that's the one that Stephan linked me to.

If you're interested in this screen saver, simply go to Meticulous Software and click on the Downloads navigation button. Download the best version of the file (as of October 16, 2010 the best version is 1.11b since 1.14 seems to be experiencing some problems) and then place the screen saver file (TheMatrix.scr) into your Windows folder. From there, you need only activate the custom screen saver via your display settings. Since this process is different for different operating systems, it is probably best to follow the instructions included in the zip file or on the web site. If you can't figure out how to install this screen saver on your computer, drop me a line with your problem and your operating system and any other pertinent information and one of the technicians at Cavemengo will be sure to help you out.

One feature that I was personally impressed by is that you can manipulate the settings to customize the screen saver. For example, you can start with The Matrix title sequence and trace program, or you can decide not to. You can display the current date and time or the date and time in the movie. You can change the trace phone number displayed. You can choose as your display name from either Neo, the name of the current computer user or any other specified name. This is the most impressive screen saver I've ever seen. It makes me both sad (because nobody uses cool screen savers anymore) and committed (to bringing back the use of 90s screen savers). Join me, friends. Download today.

Unnecessary Censorship: Mr. Rogers Edition

My Nine True Loves of the '90s

1. Marie Fredriksson

My first contact with Marie Fredriksson was through her voice. And that was honestly enough. The Swedish female lead singer for Roxette is responsible for some of the best pop songs of the 90s. I was already in love when I saw the music video for "Joyride" (1991), but seeing her beautiful face and sexy figure was something of a re-affirmation. It must have been love. (But it's over now. My love for Marie Fredriksson expired when she started looking like she's old enough to be my mother. But I'll always have the 90s, right?)

2. Tiffani Amber-Thiessen

If you've read my blog before, you know that I have always been a fan of Saved by the Bell (1989-1993). Tiffani Amber-Thiessen might be the first woman I ever really fell in love with. Either her or April O'Neil. It's pretty decisive, however, that Thiessen was the first non-animated human being I ever fell in love with. I was like every other male I knew. I wanted to be Zack Morris, and I wanted Kelly Kapowski on my arm.

3. Lara Flynn Boyle

The short shelf life of actress Lara Flynn Boyle is one of the truly sad stories of Hollywood. There was only a short period of time between Boyle as a child and Boyle as a skeleton of a person, but within that short period of time is the entire series of Twin Peaks (1990-1991) and the film Wayne's World (1992). To paraphrase Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the vitality of Lara Flynn Boyle lived in the flicker, but it certainly has not lasted as long as the old earth keeps rolling.

4. Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson is the quintessential science fiction babe. You may love your Zoe Saldana or your Summer Glau or your Tricia Helfer, but if Mulder never had a Scully this world would be a very different place. Ever since X-Files (1993-2002, 2008), there have been plenty of beautiful women who realize that they can gain a great deal of success by appealing to nerds like us. You can love them all, but if you're anything like me, then one of your earliest sci-fi loves is certainly Gillian Anderson.

5. Jenny McCarthy

The first time I saw Jenny McCarthy was on MTV's Singled Out (1995-1997). She was that kind of girl who could be gross and still be sexy. I remember a spread of photos taken of Jenny McCarthy on a toilet, and it just seemed normal: a beautiful woman with a sense of humor. I see similar things today with actress Megan Fox, and my response is, "What are you thinking? You're gross, all right, but you skipped all the sexy." Megan Fox is no Jenny McCarthy. That's for sure.

6. Salma Hayek

I met Salma Hayek in the 1995 film Desperado, the same year I met her body double. She was beautiful and voluptuous and her accent sounded exotic, and for a boy of thirteen years who was writing letters to comic books about his emotional attachment to furry mutants she was everything you could ever want in a woman. Today she's one of the most attractive 40-somethings in Hollywood. I wonder if her body double can say the same...

7. Sarah Michelle Gellar

I was so head over heels in love with Sarah Michelle Gellar when I was a teenager. I had posters of her in my room. I watched every movie she ever put out, including Vanilla Fog, which totally sucked. I wrote her into my superhero movie Leaderman as "Sarah Michelle Gellar, TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer," who would be played by whoever I could get to act in my movie with a bag over her head. Maybe this is normal for teenage girls, but it is disturbing to think that I was certain Gellar and I would end up together. But that ended up being Freddie Prinz Junior's lot.

8. Brooke Burke

For any kid whose parents couldn't afford or wouldn't allow Premium channels, Wild On (1997-2003) and the occasional late night Girls Gone Wild infomercials had a great deal of value. But Wild On's host Brooke Burke was more than softer than soft-core. She was adorable and charming. She had a perfect voice for a host of a television program. Where other women would have been holding their audiences by the crotch, Burke held us by our hearts. When she decided that she wanted to move on with her life, she helped the program to select another host, but after Brooke the appeal was gone. We learned that people didn't watch Wild On because of the interesting locations and parties, or even because of the beautiful half-naked people who came on air after your parents went to sleep. People watched Wild On for the lovely Brooke Burke.

9. Katie Holmes

Time line of my love affair with Katie Holmes: I first encountered Holmes while watching the pilot of Dawson's Creek on the WB in 1998. Later that year, she was the bad girl whose boob gets grabbed in Disturbing Behavior. In 2000 I see her topless in the movie The Gift. She and I are on-again (Dawson's Creek), off-again (Batman Begins) until 2005. That's when I lose her to Tom Cruise and she loses her sanity. It was good while it lasted.

Adam Friedli's Memories That Are Totally Real*

*Full title that was too long to be a title: Memories That Are Totally Real, and Not Fake, Because Why Else Would I Call Them Memories, Memories

In this photo: Real Hair, Justin, It's All Real

So, there was this one time when Justin was like, "Amy, come out and play-ay..." It was pretty comical, because he didn't say "play" like you usually would say it.


In this photo: Still Pretty Real, Justin

However, this didn't get the response he was looking for. "I'll need to try this from a different...'angle'..." he thought by speaking out loud at a different angle. So...then...and then Justin came up with an idea! "Hehehe, see, here I'm now by myself, uh, uhhh talking to myself..."

In this photo: Listening for The Safety Dance, but found Justin instead., Amy, A Real Light. This is how you know I am telling the truth.

"Hey! That's...that's chaos theory!!!" sprouted Amy, who also just happened to be in this frozen tundra maze. They both agreed the maze was unsafe and far too cold, and...wait...what was up with Justin's hair? And that's the story of how Justin and Amy met.

In this photo: Very Effective and Warm Coat, Justin

Do you remember that one time when I dared Justin to not sit in the snow for hours on end but he did it anyway just to demonstrate his philosophizing skills? Well, guess who's philosophizing now?! Justin, because he's still alive. This picture was caught in mid-sneeze. It's confusing that way, but that was part of his philosophizing process he told me. He said it also demonstrated his immense love for Amy the best. Ah yes, I thought, because that is the face of a man in love if I ever saw one.

In this photo: Jared, He's in the woods if you look VERY closely. Look closelier., Adam, Amy, Justin

Oh man. Road trips and airplane food, am I right? Probably. And probably this was one of the best trips ever conceived by anyone. We were heading to...NOT Medieval Times. I remember that much because Amy was saying, "Why is Adam wearing that Medicinal Times hat? Am I right?" Then Justin said, "We better watch out because I'm driving here and I forgot to bring my Marginal Times hat that helps me find proper directions. Am I left?" I just kept scrunching my face and moving my beard, because that seemed like the right thing to do. And that's the story of Amy and Justin's first date. I know, because I was there.

In this photo: The 2nd UNO Night, Interstellar Water Bottle, Amy, The Power to Destroy Heavenly Bodies, Justin, UNO Night, Maybe a Bit of a Couch

Back in the year 2000, there was this undiscovered astronomical phenomenon that defied all logic of time and space. We'll call it a "star." Jump forward to 2006. Nothing happened. Now go to 2009. Stuff happened, but not good enough. Now go to 2010. We're already there. Guess what? You just traveled through time. How? Well, you were in "now" a little while ago. But now, You're in NOW now. Where is that? It's right here. And here...here is where the story takes place. But what's a story? It's a collection of truths. Like when Justin and Amy blasted apart a star. You didn't hear? So check it out. They caused a supernova...with their love. And some Champagne. It's crazy, I know. It's crazy. But you want to know the craziest part? Get ready. UNO Night...without any UNO. What is that?! It's still an UNO Night. Exactly. Well, luckily none of this madness ever happened again, because you can only blow up a star once like that...

...or can you?

Thus concludes the first installation of Adam Friedli's Memories That Are Totally Real. I've received word that there are several more forthcoming story arcs in the series, so stay tuned to Cavemengo for more from Adam Friedli.

David Carroll's Custom Nerf Mavericks

I always thought that Nerf guns were made solely for cornering your brother and shooting him repeatedly without worry of permanent damage, expressing both your eternal vengeance and your eternal love for your brother at the same time. I recently learned that those are the thoughts of a child. David Carroll introduced me to the thoughts of an adult when I first saw his Facebook photo album of customized Nerf Mavericks, a series of handguns that David painted and/or modified, a beautiful expression of what adults with time and love and a little bit of money can do with their childhood memories.

Here are a couple of my favorite Nerf Mavericks. (Is my comic book geek showing?)

The Flash

The Green Lantern

The Iron Man

Guess what? You're in luck. After bugging David a couple of times, he uploaded all of the photos of his Nerf Mavericks to imgur. There was a time when only the aristocratic few (David's Facebook friends) could access these beauties, but that time is over. Click here for David's Custom Painted/Modified Nerf Mavericks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Zach Galifianakis

Actor/comedian Zach Galifianakis. You may recognize him as Alan Garner from The Hangover, Ray Hueston from Bored to Death, or Bobby from It's Kind of a Funny Story. I am a one-comedian-at-a-time kind of guy, meaning that if I like a comedian she or he is the only comedian in the world. In my lifetime I have only had three comedians. First there was Eddie Izzard. Izzard is still alive, but he was completely eclipsed for me by Mitch Hedberg. When Hedberg died, I thought I'd never love (a comedian) again. Then came Zach. To paraphrase the great prophet Phil Collins: "You will be in my heart, Zach. You will be in my heart."

Thom Yorke "Atoms For Peace"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Unnecessary Censorship: Sesame Street Edition

Jack Goes Boating Trailer

Cobie Smulders

Actress Cobie Smulders. You may recognize her as Robin Scherbatsky (Robin Sparkles) on How I Met Your Mother. There's a part of me that really resonates with Smulders. It feels like she's someone I've known for years. Weird, right? Kind of sounds like step one of a several step program whereby I become a serial killer, right? Whatever. I can't shake that feeling.

Another Commander Chris Article

Mark Mattison is a child of the Star Wars era, a watcher of Star Trek reruns and a reader of science fiction from childhood. He can now call himself a writer of science fiction, thanks to his first book, “Commander Chris and the Mystical Orb” (Gollehon Books, $9.95)
Chris Morinas, a teenage skateboarder and popularity contest loser, is mysteriously transformed in a lab accident and finds himself warped into another galaxy where he becomes commander of a space ship and its strange crew. They embark on a rescue mission but end up embroiled in a fight to save their world and defeat evil.
“This is a novel broader than its sci-fi genre,” Mattison said. “It’s the story of a young man who doesn’t have much going for him but who is thrust into a world where he calls upon skills to become stronger and better. It’s a great opportunity to explore the limits of the imagination and the confines of science.”
The full article was published in The Grand Rapids Press and on-line at MLive. You can read the full text here.

Jesse Eisenberg

Actor Jesse Eisenberg. You may recognize him as Columbus from Zombieland, James Brennan from Adventureland, or Mark Zuckerberg from The Social Networkland. (Is that right?) Eisenberg is the absolute king of geek actors, delivering one brilliant performance after another. He's easily one of the best our generation has to offer.

12 Television Programs From Which a Justin Tiemeyer Can Be Constructed

(In chronological order)

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The one thing that I can think of that distinguishes me from the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles acolytes of my generation is that I have memorized much of the album that was released by the joint effort of Pizza Hut and TMNT. If I were to become a rock star, there's a good chance I'd start a set with the tune "Pizza Power," which goes something like this: "Growing up in a glass bowl / with chameleons, lizards and tadpoles. / It hardly enters your mind / that there's something better than this."

2. Saved by the Bell

It took me 20 years before I ever kissed a girl, but when it happened I already knew what do do from watching Saved by the Bell. I've even been called a good kisser by a couple of ladies. Don't thank me, ladies. Thank Saved by the Bell. Oh, and thank me.

3. Full House

I've rarely been more angry with my father than the night of the series finale of Full House. The television show that I'd watched for so long on TGIF was going to end amazingly, and I would never know, because my father was determined to pre-empt the most important day of my life by watching a memorial tribute to Michael Landon. This was back before the days of DVR or free streaming. It was long before you could buy television programs on VHS or DVD. If I was to watch this episode, I would have to wait until it came back around in syndication. I ended up forgiving my father, but I wonder how much that has to do with the fact that I eventually was able to watch the emotional finale.

4. X-Men: The Animated Series

Micah had a bird named Petey. We kept him in a cage in the living room. I used to call him Piotr after Piotr Nikolaivich Rasputin (Colossus) or sometimes Pietro after Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), both characters on X-Men: The Animated Series. I remember the day of Petey's death, mainly because I think the television program that gave me so many nicknames for the bird was also responsible for his demise. One Saturday morning, Micah and I were getting ready for watching one of the last five episodes of the series, but first we had to feed Petey. Micah had the door to the cage open and was pouring in the food when we heard the theme song to our favorite cartoon. I began to run to the living room, and so did Micah, but when Petey's cage door shut it did so with Petey's foot in the door. The bird went into shock from the pain and died almost immediately. Were he Piotr he could have surrounded his foot in organic steel. Were he Pietro he could have moved his foot quickly out of the way. But he was Petey, and Petey is no more.

5. The Ren & Stimpy Show

Fourth-graders in Michigan are required to take a writing test called the MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program). I can't remember what made me feel better, the joy that my MEAP writing test received the highest possible grade, the elation that came from hearing my writing read to the class as an example of how you ought to write, or the hilarious satisfaction that all this recognition came from an essay about the fact that if I could spend a day with anyone it would be bathing in kitty litter with Ren and Stimpy from the popular (original) Nicktoon.

6. X-Files

This past Spring Break while you were in Key West or Cancun I was in Roswell, New Mexico with a couple of my friends. We were determined to investigate X-Files while we were there. I can recount the particular X-Files that we dealt with because of the documentation I kept:  
S01E01. Teyollocuani --- the mysterious "soul sucking" of nearby Lovington,  
S01E02. Stranded --- fields of poison gas just outside of town --- a vehicle actually pursued us during this X-File), 
S01E03. Monolith --- the strange UFO monument in someone's fields, 
S01E04. Eis Ton Aionas Ton Aionon --- Stephan's dream that we'd drink McDonalds shamrock shakes together,  
S01E05. Rumbles --- a strange occurrence whereby Adam showered in the evening and put the curtain on the inside of the tub and yet it was on the outside in the morning,  
S01E06. Siphon --- a haunted hot tub that sucks the life out of those inside it, and  
S01E07. Mirrors --- Stephan's missing pair of shoes.


Immediate family was a different concept for us. According to most people's definition, it is the mother and the father and their children. According to my definition, it is the people you buy Christmas presents for every year: mom, dad, Micah, Smokey and Uncle Paul. There was a time when my immediate family got together once per week. It was Thursday night. Uncle Paul would come over and we'd eat pizza while watching FRIENDS. Micah now lives in North Carolina, I live in Texas, Smokey was put to sleep a couple years back, and FRIENDS completed its run long before that, but FRIENDS, in my memory, will always mark the golden age of my family.

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I think I first watched this show with Justin Metz. He had an episode or two from the first season on a VHS tape and we watched them together. I remember watching the episode "The Pack" in which a group of popular students and Xander get possessed by hyena spirits and turn into dicks. If I had watched that episode for the first time today I would probably comment on the brilliant juxtaposition of the supernatural with normal high school problems, the amazing wit and sheer brilliance of the writing. But back then I was going through puberty. All I could think of was the cute girl. I think I spent most of the episode saying, "Yeah! Yeah! Sniff her!" in a terrible Beavis and Butthead voice. I feel the need to thank those hormonal surges, because Buffy has since proven to be one of the most rewarding stories I've ever encountered.

9. Dawson's Creek

Sure, Dawson's Creek was always melodramatic, but it was melodramatic in the same way that kids of that age would be melodramatic. Buffy the Vampire Slayer drew me to the WB, and the WB bombarded me with commercials about the upcoming drama Dawson's Creek. I had no choice but to watch. Dawson and gang were my age, encountering problems that kids my age faced. They were intelligent and childishly in love with one another. For me that was so real. Throw in that kid from The Mighty Ducks (Pacey, who even references his love for The Mighty Ducks in the first season) and one of the early loves of my life, a young Katie Holmes, and I have no shame to say it: I was in love with Dawson's Creek.

10. The O.C.

You didn't have to sell me on the O.C. Months before the first trailers for the O.C. came out I became a huge fan of the band Phantom Planet, featuring Jason Schwartzman on drums, and their amazing album The Guest, after hearing them open for Incubus in 2002. When the first trailer came out all I saw was beautiful, half-naked women and all I heard was the beautiful Phantom Planet song "California." When Becky and I tried to get out buddies Elliot and Brian to watch the OC with us, however, it was a hard sell. They were too cool for a teenage prime time soap opera. It only took a couple episodes before they were hooked. Brian, the most difficult to win over, was astounded at the end of some episodes, saying things like, "Guys, I don't know what's going to happen." After watching a season, the hecklers were turned to acolytes, so devoted to the show that they weathered the terrible second and third seasons, and the hit-or-miss fourth season. I'll admit that I cried during the series finale. I don't know if Brian or Elliot will admit the same.

11. LOST

I devoted six years of my mental capacity to the television program LOST. I don't mean that I just watched it. I lived in their universe, sometimes more often than I lived in my own, possibly as a way to cope with girl issues. My longest relationship was somewhere around a year long. The longest amount of time I was ever in college was three years. The longest I've ever worked anywhere is three years. As LOST approached its series finale I began seeing that it may have been standing in the way of my availability for a whole lot of things. I predicted that after LOST concluded I'd finally be able to enter into a serious adult relationship and write a novel. Within a week of the finale, the first came true. (BEST RELATIONSHIP EVER!) Looks like I'll be needing a little more time on the novel...

12. Community

I must have watched the scene where Annie (Alison Brie) sculpted a large phallic object in pottery class at least thirty times. I'm not even joking.