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Going Away Happy . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, April 29, 2008 15 comments

One of the great pleasures of working is an invitation to a "Going Away" lunch.

These events are typically necessitated by a co-worker who is voluntarily leaving for greener pastures. They have already put in their two weeks notice, and are simply wrapping up HR issues, cleaning porn off their laptops and dropping by your desk for goodbye conversations.

Not all "Going Away" lunches are created equal, however, as the best ones constitute an invitation by another department for a departing colleague that you barely even know.



This occurred yesterday as I scored a lengthy lunch at PF Changs, which gave me the opportunity to sit at the far end of the table with a small group of co-workers and attack lettuce wraps, lemon pepper shrimp and kung pao scallops.


The action was at the far end of the table where the person with the impending departure was holding court with his immediate department.

The key is to validate your invitation early, and then move far away.

I walked into the restaurant, saw the guy at one end of the table, clapped him on the back and said a few pithy and parting words before scurrying to opposite end to carve out a territory for my other work friends.

Two hours later, the meal was finished and the tab was picked up by the company. I was able to relax, stay on the fringes and soak up a good meal while considerably shortening a Monday.

This was work at its finest.

-BDS

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Cure For The Sunday Blues . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, April 28, 2008 13 comments

"I knew I could always count on you
My old friend the Blues," - Steve Earle, "My Old Friend the Blues"


As I mentioned last week, it's easy to fall into the Blues on a Sunday, however, yesterday was an entirely different animal as I underwent a regime which cured all ugly thoughts, and one that I could recommend to virtually anyone.

It started with the rain. I woke up early to the sound of it pounding down outside, and then promptly went right back to sleep. When I awoke for a second time, I decided to immediately clear the brain by running on the treadmill and then putting on the boxing gloves for some light sparring which provided a nice endorphin rush.

After a quick shower, I cooked and ate a massive breakfast followed by a pot of Kona coffee while casually reading through two Sunday newspapers.

The rain had passed by this time, and the sun began to emerge from the clouds. I drove with the top-down to my masseuse for a deep-tissue session, which took more than an hour as she kneaded me like dough, drove her elbow into various points of my back and ignored my yelps of pain.

She was a true professional. Besides having powerful hands which aren't attached to a body that resembles a female version of Lou Ferrigno, I like my masseuse because she understands the value of silence. This is a lost art as a lot of people want to consistently fill the void with chatter, and especially during a massage, I don't want to say a word except "you are about to drive your hands through my spine."


On the drive home, I felt loose and relaxed and that feeling led to an hour nap after I stepped inside my loft.

I woke up and watched some of the NBA play-offs, and read magazines. Then, I got a bizarre, yet powerful lust for Popeye's chicken and Heineken. I hadn't consumed either in a long while, and never at the same time. But I didn't think too deeply on the matter, and instead, drove to pick up both items.



As I munched on fried chicken and washed it down with ice-cold beer, I knew life could be a lot worse.

By this time, it was starting to get dark, and I needed to get ready to meet my brother downtown for a concert. We were going to see Steve Earle, a singer-songwriter who last year was hailed as "America's greatest living songwriter" by a major UK publication.


Earle, who is usually backed by a loud band, played a solo acoustic show for more than 2 hours, and it was excellent as the crowd was knowledgeable and the Shiner Boch was cold. Too cold and too plentiful.

Luckily, there was a lone remaining survivor of the Popeye's chicken massacre when I arrived home at midnight. I tore the delicious bird apart like a werewolf during a mating frenzy, slugged down two waters and a G2 Gatorade and then flopped down in bed, content with a Sunday which was set apart from most by a confluence of lucky events that I would love to see repeated every single week.

The only problem is that Monday morning came way too early, and the perfect Sunday repercussions are still playing out. I guess there are flaws in every plan.

-BDS

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Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, April 25, 2008 18 comments

"Does anybody actually own a white Taurus, or are they all rentals?" - Patrica Arquette, "Flirting with Disaster"


Somehow this week has flown by, and that is fine with me as the weekend is looming and overflowing with possibilities as I already have a concert to attend and a deep-tissue massage scheduled. But before I get started with anything else, let's take a look at the important stories of the week such as:

Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James were unhurt after the car they were traveling in was struck by a drunk driver this week.

Police Lt. Jerry Cook said the Hollywood couple were being driven in an when a car driven by Lucille Gatchell crossed the center line and hit them, totaling both vehicles but hurting nobody. Cook also said that Gatchell tested .20 on an alcohol breath test, more than twice the legal limit.


Despite her past difficulties with public transportation in "Speed," it might be safer for Bullock to take the bus in the future.

Three years after tying the knot, Star Jones has decided to end her marriage to banker Al Reynolds.

The 46-year-old TV personality filed divorce papers March 26 in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan. The records are sealed, syndicated entertainment show "Entertainment Tonight" reported Wednesday.

In a statement to "Entertainment Tonight," Jones said: "Several years ago I made an error in judgment by inviting the media into the most intimate area of my life. A month ago I filed for divorce."


I think the media made an even bigger mistake by accepting Star's invitation.

Racy photos of Miley Cyrus - the teen idol better known as "Hannah Montana" - have popped up on the Web -- again.

The batch of pictures, which are allegedly the 15-year-old Cyrus, show her lying on top of an unnamed male in just her bra and underwear as well as another depicting Cyrus pulling down her tank top and showing her green bra.



The unidentified male has been trying to leak his identity as well, but major media outlets have yet to confirm if "Flo Idaho" is his real name.

In other Miley Cyrus news, the pop star/actress plans to write a memoir about her journey to stardom, the Disney Book Group said on Tuesday.

The book, to be published by Disney-Hyperion Books and scheduled to hit bookshelves next spring, will trace her life from her roots in the Southern United States to Hollywood celebrity and will feature photographs from her famous family.


I could care less about a book of knowledge written by any 15-year-old, however, I am vaguely curious to learn how many times the words "I just want to thank my fans" and "awesome" appear in the book.

Transformers actress Megan Fox has been named the world's sexiest woman in an FHM magazine poll as the 22-year-old took the crown from last year's winner Jessica Alba.

"Megan Fox is a very deserving winner of this year's FHM title," Anthony Noguera, FHM's editor-in-chief said. "From out of nowhere, she's captured the hearts - and fantasies - of British men to capture the number one slot. With such incredible competition, and after just one major film role, that is an amazing achievement."


I've got nothing to add on this one because I agree completely with the award, and you'd have to be crazy as a Fox to feel otherwise.

A federal judge has sentenced action star Wesley Snipes to the maximum three-year sentence on tax charges.

Prosecutors had requested three years, one year for each of Snipes' convictions of willfully failing to file a tax return.


In his ruling, the judge also declared the Blade movie series to "be entirely overrated in my opinion."

Former "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff was taken to the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center on Saturday to have something removed above his eye, his publicist, Judy Katz, told The Associated Press Monday.

"He's fine, he had something removed, he's coming out tonight," Katz said, declining to elaborate on what was removed.


Thousands of Germans are still holding candlelight vigils in case the surgery somehow affects Hasselhoff's vocal cords rendering him unable to tour the country.

Let's not end with mangled body parts, and instead, bookend last week's gold image with another from that same shoot:


I assume this is the front to the previous week's back, which is fine with me as I'm all for completing the arc. So, try to bring things full circle today, close the loop on any lingering mysteries and . . . Happy Friday!

-BDS

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Bathing With The Drunken Viking . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, April 23, 2008 23 comments

{This is the Nineteenth in a recurring series that will only happen when I have consumed far too many spirits with my brother. Last night, we had a mini-celebration (more on that in a later post) and a few pitchers of Spaten were consumed which triggered strange thoughts, candid insights and pure horseshit. Selah.}



* The only thing you're mocking while wearing a mock turtleneck is yourself


* Power walking is still walking - you just look strange while doing it

* Unless you're a male stripper, then there is never enough justification for a thong


* Lesbians have a strong affinity for Westerns

* "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol is always a good karaoke choice to get the crowd going

* A Koala Bear would make a phenomenal pet


* Customer Support hotline jobs must be a dream gig because it seems to be a license to piss people off with absolute immunity

* You will never get a reasonable answer to "Don't you already have enough shoes?"

* Anyone is the most interesting person in the world on cocaine


* Have sex on any part of a car except inside the trunk

* Never got to bed with anyone crazier than you

* "The worse thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober." — William Butler Yeats

-BDS

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Sunday Shopping Blues . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, April 21, 2008 18 comments

Sundays usually depress me, and yet I masochistically chose to make yesterday worse by going shopping.

I knew this was a mistake from the beginning, however, it was a necessary evil as I had put off buying things to "warm up" my loft for awhile. Later this year I plan to put it up for sale despite a climate that is far from booming.

Austin has done better than most markets, a fact that gives me some hope, but then again, I'm in no real hurry to move which makes everything less stressful - except the shopping.

To successfully navigate this arena, I must have a solid plan to adhere to or the effort is doomed. I do not window-shop, dilly-dally, loiter, browse or jack around with shopping. When push comes to shove, I am filled with a single-minded purpose akin to Lindsay Lohan spotting a vodka bottle across a crowded nightclub.


I will not be denied.

To that end, I needed to purchase a rug with "warm" colors, throw pillows, a vase and things to make the loft smell like a pack of rose-petaled virgins live there. I gave myself two hours to accomplish this task.

I decided that I could find what I needed within 3 different stores. These establishments formed a rough triangle from each other, and I devised an intricate route to maximize the distance covered while minimizing the time spent driving. The thing that I should have accounted for was the plethora of salespeople who hounded me at every turn.

While looking at candles in one store, I was stalked by this one employee and repeatedly asked "Do you have any question?"

About candles? No, I generally think I grasp the concept of burning something to emit a particular odor by now.

I did have a question which I failed to ask, which was: "Who the hell invented the $30 throw pillow?"



If anyone has the answer to that mystery, I'd love to know so I could find the bastard and throw him through a plate-glass window.

But my plan worked and I found everything I needed in 1 hr. 45 minutes. It took another half-hour to put it all down, but it's here now:


In celebration, I rarely left the couch for the rest of the day as I had a stack of magazines to read, Dos Equis to drink and the NBA play-offs to provide tonic to a challenging day.

-BDS

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Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, April 18, 2008 20 comments

"Ah, heh heh heh. Ever hear of a ritual killing? Ah, heh heh heh heh heh," John Candy, "Uncle Buck"


The weather is holding nicely in Austin, and I'm planning to make up for my previous sick as a dog weekend, so before I blow through my work like a chainsaw through butter and then split, let's look at the important stories of the week such as:

Marilyn Monroe starred in a "graphic" film in the 1950s performing oral sex on an unidentified man, according to a memorabilia collector who says he brokered the recent sale of the film for $1.5 million to a New York businessman who vows to keep it private.

Keya Morgan says the silent, 15-minute, black-and-white, 16 millimeter film was shockingly erotic. "It is graphic," Morgan The Early Show Tuesday. "I was obviously shocked when I saw it."


Morgan was obviously so shocked that he immediately put it on the market and alerted every media outlet in the country.

Britney Spears was declared sober during her minor fender bender last week as police reported that the pop star passed an alcohol breath test.

Cops said they followed normal procedures when they asked Brit to take a sobriety test after her Mercedes rear-ended another car in stop-and-go traffic on a suburban highway.


A police spokesman later added that the main surprise was that Spears was giving rather than receiving a rear-ending. Ouch. That was far too obvious.

Speaking of deviant sexual issues, a former nanny for Rob Lowe claims the actor sexually abused her for years, but she continued to work for him and his wife because she loved their two sons and needed the job.

In legal papers filed in Santa Barbara, Jessica Gibson says Lowe touched her inappropriately several times between September 2005 and January 2008.

"I always thought it would be different when I went back, but it was not," Gibson said in the lawsuit. "I stayed as long as I did because of the children and because I needed a job."


I'm just waiting for the NannyCam videos to hit the Internet to prove this one way or the other as I hope that Lowe has updated his recording methods since his last cinematic sexual tryst.

Actor Wesley Snipes should serve a maximum three-year prison term and pay a $5 million fine for failing to file his income taxes, U.S. prosecutors recommended in a tax-season court filing.

Prosecutors accused Snipes of years of "brazen defiance" of U.S. tax laws aimed at cheating the government of $41 million, U.S. Attorneys wrote in a court document.


Despite the recommendation, I'm not convinced that Snipes will serve any jail time because if his film - "Passenger 57" - taught us anything, it's to "always bet on black."

Ashlee Simpson is allegedly pregnant and plans to get married next month at a private residence in Southern California, a source close to her family tells PEOPLE.

Simpson, 23, is engaged to Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, 28, who initially blasted the baby rumors as a "witch hunt."


Simpson repeatedly attempted to join the witch hunt because "it sounded fun" until the term was fully explained to her.

Police are asking for a misdemeanor child endangerment charge against Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora following his drunken driving arrest in Laguna Beach, Calif., last month.

The 48-year-old musician was stopped after a police officer saw Sambora's black Hummer weaving in traffic, and was arrested after failing a field sobriety test.


The authorities decided to file the additional charges after the children told them that Sambora was driving while making them listen to "Wanted Dead or Alive" on an endless loop.

Let's end far away from any police involvement, and focus on a gold image like this:


It's often worthwhile to unravel tightly-wound strings, so finish what you start today, maintain a firm hand until you accomplish your goals and . . . Happy Friday!

-BDS

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One Word . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, April 16, 2008 18 comments

Since I am still on the mend from sickness, and swamped at work, I decided to answer a tag or two and use this MeMe which has been floating around lately.

You.
Can.
Only.
Type.
One.
Word.

1. Where is your mobile phone? Pocket.
2. Your significant other? Special.
3. Your hair? Thick.
4. Your mother? Shopping.
5. Your father? Library.
6. Your favorite thing? Beach.


7. Your dream last night? Moose.
8. Your favorite drink? Pints
9. Your dream/goal? Movie.
10. The room you’re in? Office.
11. Your ex? Chocolate.
12. Your fear? Snakes.


13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Laughing.
14. Where were you last night? Bed.
15. What you’re not? Jealous.
16. Muffins? Often.
17. One of your wish list items? R8.


18. Where you grew up? Plano.
19. The last thing you did? Email.
20. What are you wearing? Sharp.
21. Your TV? Plasma.
22. Your pets? None.
23. Your computer? Powerful.
24. Your life? Motion.
25. Your mood? Optimistic.
26. Missing someone? No.
27. Your car? Enjoyable.


28. Something you’re not wearing? Underwear.
29. Favorite Store? Hugo.
30. Your summer? Brutal.
31. Like someone? Many.
32. Your favorite color? Blue.
33. When is the last time you laughed? Morning.
34. Last time you cried? Funeral.
35. Who will/would re-post this? Plethora.

Anyone is welcome to this one.

-BDS

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Sick & Healing . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, April 15, 2008 15 comments

I jinxed myself on Friday when I wrote about seizing the day and enjoying the weather because I became sick as a dog after writing those words and only now feel vaguely human again.


Few things in life can lay you quite as low as sickness. It had been at least a year since I'd even had a cold, so it started out as shock then progressed to anger before moving onto acceptance and finally back to anger as the weekend stretched out in all its glory. Unfortunately, I viewed it from my bed or the downstairs couch while reading books and magazines and alternately watching the Masters on television.


Women handle being sick far better than men in my experience. I think this is an admirable quality because I feel myself regress almost immediately upon contracting a virus. Suddenly, I turn from a fiercely independent person who rarely asks for anything into a wretched creature devoid of the ability to function on a basic human level.


It's a pitiful state of affairs. It's even worse when you know it's happening yet feel powerless to stop it.

Things reached a breaking point by Sunday. At that stage, I had lost all ability to handle life's miniscule setbacks, which frequently happens when I get sick as every little thing further validated my view that the universe was against me.

List of things which were against me:

1) The remote control was on the other side of the coffee table
2) The wind blew a plant over on my balcony
3) I only had a $50 bill and nothing smaller
4) The Vietnamese food I ordered was 10 minutes late
5) They forgot my egg roll
6) My hot water in the bath was too hot
7) A bird was chirping rhythmically outside my window


8) The rhythm somehow corresponded to that silly song "867-5309" and I got that stuck in head for hours
9) I needed to shave, and was out of razors

This was a small sampling of a larger problem. I'm just glad that the worst is behind me, and so is my wife who was forced to deal with the fallout.

At least the weather is still nice.

-BDS

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Thoughts on "Smart People" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, April 14, 2008 14 comments

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee or rental. This is a solid, well-acted story that is a fine way to spend a few hours. It would make an even better rental as "Smart People" would lose next to nothing in the translation to the small screen.

Will I Own It On DVD: No. But I would watch it one more time when it comes on HBO/Cinemax/Showtime.


1) It's easy to compare "Smart People" to "Sideways" as both films feature socially-awkward academics who are trying to get books published, both have Thomas Hayden Church as a fun-loving hedonist, and both have romantic issues. And while "Smart People" isn't up to the caliber of "Sideways," the wry comedy is still a worthwhile endeavor.

2) The casting for the film helped immensely as the ensemble of Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page and Church was an interesting one. There wasn't a weak link in the bunch.


3) Quaid lets himself go for his role as he sports a frequently rumpled look complete with an academic pot belly and world-weary shuffle. To his credit, he doesn't reverse his misanthropic, slightly pompous attitude during the course of the film as the story is about small changes.

4) The subplot involving Page and Church was a bit of a stretch, although both actors perform well enough to pull it off. Church could play the arrested adolescent role in his sleep and still be entertaining. Page follows "Juno" with another teen role that she performs flawlessly as a lonely, overachieving student who gets excited by a tax write-off forms from Goodwill donations.


5) I realize that male nudity occurs far less frequently than female, however, it's starting to crop up more often and is starting to feel lazy. I suppose that one shot of Church's naked ass in red long johns is fine for an easy chuckle, but two is just overkill. It's a law of diminishing returns.

Overall, "Smart People" is a literate, if slightly frosty comedy about people struggling with life. It's rarely laugh out loud funny, however, the cast elevates the material to a solid level that is worth watching if the mood strikes you.

-BDS

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Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, April 11, 2008 19 comments

"I'll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash ya got," - Nicolas Cage, "Raising Arizona"


I'll be taking off early today as the sun is shining in Austin, it's about 80 degrees and as soon as I can finish my work, then the weekend is mine. So, let's knock out the hard-hitting stories of the week such as:

Nicolas Cage has accepted a public apology from his “Peggy Sue Got Married” co-star Kathleen Turner, after suing the actress for allegedly making false claims about him in her autobiography, “Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles.”

Turner claimed that Cage was arrested twice while they were filming “Peggy Sue” for drunken driving, and once stole a dog because he liked it.

“He’d come across a Chihuahua he liked and stuck it in his jacket,” she wrote in her book.


Although Turner made amends with Cage, she refused to apologize for her role in "Undercover Blues" and for making everyone uncomfortable during her book tour by claiming she hadn't had sex in years.

A man who says he worked as a bodyguard for Lindsay Lohan has sued the actress and her company, claiming he is owed more than $55,000 in unpaid wages.

David Kim filed a lawsuit Monday in Superior Court, and claimed breach of oral contract and violation of four California labor codes, in addition to fraud and infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit claimed Kim was hired from October 2006 until March 2007 by Lohan, 21, and her agents or employees based on "various oral representations and text messages."


Strangely enough, Lohan paid most of her bodyguards in "Oral representations" versus actual money, so the lawsuit doesn't seem particularly valid to me.

Ashlee Simpson has announced that she's engaged to Pete Wentz, whom she has been romantically linked to since 2006.

"We know there has been a lot of speculation recently about Pete and I, and we wanted our fans to be the first to know, because you guys are the best," Simpson said in the statement. "Yes, we are thrilled to share that we are happily engaged. Thank you for all of your support and well wishes - it means the world to us. We consider this to be a very private matter, but we wanted you to hear it straight from us."


Privately, Joe Simpson wept at losing another daughter to marriage - especially after all the money he poured into plastic surgery.

The life and times of Pamela Anderson, the thrice-married former Playboy model and "Baywatch" star, will be featured in a new documentary-style show on E! television, the network said on Monday.

The show, "Pamela," is set to air on the U.S. cable TV network in the summer months and will "in the style of a uniquely shot documentary film," Randy Barbato, managing director of World of Wonder Productions, said in a statement.


The best documentary on Anderson I ever saw involved Tommy Lee, a boat and a lot of piss-poor grammar.

Rob Lowe and his wife are suing their former nanny, claiming she told secrets and lies about their family.

The complaint filed Monday in a Los Angeles Superior Court asks for at least $1,000,000 in damages and charges Laura Boyce with violating a confidentiality agreement, defamation and infliction of emotional distress on the former "West Wing" star; his wife, Sheryl; and their two sons.


My main question is how much money did Lowe pay his nanny if he truly believes she can afford a million dollars in damages?

Daniel Radcliffe, the star of the "Harry Potter" movies, will make his Broadway debut on Sept. 5, playing the disturbed stable boy in a revival of Peter Shaffer's play, "Equus."

Radcliffe, 18, earned rave reviews for his performance in the London production of the Tony Award-winning play as well as loads of media attention for appearing naked onstage.


I guess you can take the boy away from Harry Potter, but you can't stop him from waving his wand around, eh?

Oscar winning actor Sean Penn and his wife actress Robin Wright Penn have withdrawn their divorce petition filed in December, a court document posted on celebrity Web site TMZ.com showed on Wednesday.

The request to dismiss the divorce, filed one day earlier in Superior Court of California in Marin County north of San Francisco, shows the withdrawal was made "without prejudice."


Apparently, their divorce didn't work out, so they're getting back together.

Let's continue that redemptive note, and end with a stellar image like:


I could use a long walk on the beach, although I might jog a bit if she was sharing the same sand. So, get your heart rate up today, let your hair down and . . . Happy Friday!

-BDS

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