The Boyfriend of the Week
December 9, 2005
Oh man, has it ever been a rough week here at the Boyfriend site. For both me and my staff.
You knew I had a staff, didn't you? I'm sure I've mentioned this before. Obviously, there's me -- chief cook and bottle-washer. And then there's Lucky T. Cat, who assists with my last round of rewrites by sitting on my lap and listening to me read aloud each final draft (I read every write-up aloud before posting it -- someday I'll do a podcast of this process so you can hear just how big a dork I really am, because I laugh like a maniac at my own jokes and two-thirds of them aren't even funny). If Lucky doesn't like what she hears, she bites me on the kneecap. If she does, she purrs and looks cute. It's very helpful.
And then there's the most vital staff person of all -- my Mom, once voted "Best Legs in the English Department" by her students back when she was a high school teacher. Mom does one last round of proofreading the moment the write-up gets posted and then emails me with a list of complaints (though she starts every list off by telling me how hilarious I am -- Moms rule). Fortunately, I don't have to pay Lucky (frankly, she ought to be paying me given the number of holes in the knees of my pants she's created over the years). My Mom, on the other hand, being the savvy businesswoman that she is, demands half my profits. Unfortunately, since I make no money off this site whatsoever, half of zero dollars works out to. . . hold on a sec, let me do the calculations. . . carry the one, times the square root of 63,457, minus 5 equals. . .
Yeah, zero dollars. So much for "savvy businesswoman." She must just love me or something. . . Too bad she didn't pass her great legs onto me, though. My twin sister got those and I just got the huge family badonkadonk which, luckily, is finally in fashion these day (praise be to J-Lo).
However, much as I adore and could not continue without my trusty staff, I knew there was nothing either of them could do to help out with my dilemma over the last seven days. My Mom, I knew, was only going to recognize one of the three guys I was juggling. And Lucky -- well, let's just say she's not picky as long as there's a salmon-flavored cat treat to be had in trade for her stamp of approval. And, oh yes, ladies, you heard that last bit right -- THREE BOYFRIENDS all clamoring to be Number One in a span of only SEVEN DAYS. It made for quite an ugly scene. The rejections! The dejections! The tears! The attempts to blackmail me with foot rubs and cheek smooches. It was disgusting, really, the way these guys were stomping all over their own dignity just to get on this site. It's been hell, people. H-e-double-chopsticks. I may never recover.
Though my feet have never felt better.
It all started about a week ago, when I was hard at work putting the finishing touches on the latest installment of the old "Grave Dodgers" series (remember over the summer when I was featuring fogies like James Garner and Bryan Brown?). I was at the "read aloud to Lucky" stage on that one when I happened to take a break to get the mail. Along with the eighty-gazillion offers for life insurance (what is it about buying a house that suddenly gets these guys all over you, by the way?) were two red envelopes in my mailbox. Just seeing them made me want to break out into a little Balki Bartokomous Dance of Joy. For these were red envelopes I had been longing for for days and days. Red envelopes that let me know that, finally, all four parts of a BBC miniseries I'd been waiting and waiting and WAITING to get a chance to see had arrived from Netflix.
Rather than finish what I'd already started (i.e., the write-up), I immediately plunked in both DVDs and sat down to get watchin'. Procrastination, thy name is Netflix! Pretty soon (and pretty predictably), I was scrapping the Grave Dodgers write-up in favor of a new one on the miniseries' star. Who is about the dreamiest British thing I've encountered since a damp Mr. Darcy, lakeside.
And with that line alone, I know a light bulb just went on -- ding! -- for a bunch of you guys. Because you surely know who I'm talking about -- you've been begging me to hurry up and watch that series for over a year now. On the off chance you are still doubting that your ship has really come in, at long last, I'll give you one more clue to help solidify it for you: the miniseries in question did NOT star Patrick Swayze, though it would've been easy to presume it might have, given its title.
And no, I'm not talking about a BBC production of "To Wong Foo." Thank god. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll be getting to it in the next few weeks, I swear. For those of you that DO know, commence emails of glee.
Anyway, I finished the BBC series Saturday morning and spent all afternoon tinkering with the relevant write-up, so smitten was I. I was probably halfway done with it too, when I decided to call it a night, set my VCR to tape "Saturday Night Live," and go to bed.
Now, anyone who knows me just did a total double-take on that last sentence. Because I do not watch SNL and I'm quite vocal as to why. When the term "SNL" is pointed in my direction during a conversation, I invariably reply with an unladylike snort of derision. Why? I used to be a huge fan when I was in high school -- back when we got to experience the collective creative geniuses of Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, and Phil Hartman, who did the best Frankstein impersonation of all time, I might add. When I hit college, though, the cast I knew and loved had mostly moved on and had been replaced by a bunch of idiots who were pretty much the most unfunny thing I'd seen since "Schindler's List." And trust me, "Schindler's List" is NOT FUNNY.
I tried to hang in there for a few more weeks -- after all, nothing was more popular in my dorm than getting together in the common room for SNL and smuggled beers on a Saturday night after the RA was in bed. But if there's one thing I cannot stand, it is stupid humor. And that's all SNL was about back then.
Hey, that's a pretty ironic statement, isn't it? Given that my SPECIALTY is stupid humor? Yes, as Val Kilmer playing Doc Holliday would say, "My hypocrisy knows no bounds."
Anyway, I taped SNL last weekend because I had heard a comedian I really liked was going to be hosting it. Decided I might as well give it a shot. I'd heard some buzz about some of the new cast members, after all, and I figured it might be time to give the show a try again. Maybe it had gotten better. It's entirely possible. One never knows.
I woke up Sunday and decided to have some laughs with my bowl of cereal, so I rewound my tape and started watching. And damn if I wasn't, five minutes later, working on THIS write-up instead. Twenty minutes later, Lucky's head is beginning to spin around like an owl's, as I'm suddenly reading aloud from the THIRD write-up in three days. After about ten minutes of her scrambling around, firing off various kitty synapses trying to figure out what the hell I was talking about, she finally resigned from her position by biting me on the ankle and then puking up a hairball on my throw rug.
Boy, when she walks off a job, she really walks off a job.
The problem, of course, is that Dane Cook is not only the funniest young comedian out there today, but he's also extremely (by which I mean HOLY CRAP) good-looking.
Funny and cute -- an utterly lethal combination. (And, yes, eighteen paragraphs into the write-up, I finally get to the Boyfriend!)
I first discovered Dane about a year ago, while I was reading a dooce.com post in which Heather talked about him. I was intrigued, because if Heather thinks he's funny, I am also likely to think he's funny, given how funny I think she is. So, I Googled him and found his web site, http://danecook.com. At the site, you can listen to clips from his various comedy albums, as well as few video snips from a bunch of his appearances on TV and stand-up stage.
It didn't take many of these clips to get me intrigued enough to check out his albums. I put two of them on my MP3 player ("Retaliation" and "Harmful if Swallowed") and decided one afternoon that I'd listen to one of them while I was out taking a walk. BIG mistake. I was lucky I wasn't immediately picked up by the Loony Patrol, as by the time I was five minutes into it, I was laughing so hard I was practically crawling up the street instead of power-walking. People were pointing at me from their passing cars. Mothers were hurrying their children back into their houses as I stumbled past their front yards, gasping for breath and clutching my sides. Dogs were scurrying off with their tails between their legs. I was laughing harder than I can remember laughing in a really really long time. It is just absolutely hi-freaking-larious.
So hi-freaking-larious, actually, that after only a couple of months of being a Dane Cook fan, I've got all his albums memorized, and whenever I see him anywhere (on TV, on the web, etc.), I can't help but shout out random lines, something that is slowly but surely driving my husband, who doesn't know Dane Cook from Cook County, completely insane.
Dane'll pop up on TV and I'll yell, "A TIRE. Hit her in the FACE."
I'll flip through a magazine and see a photo of him and it's "Helllllloooooo? I'm a caaaaarrrrrrrr?" "Seeeeeatbelts! Radio knobs!"
To someone who has no idea what I'm talking about, these lines are not funny. At all. Which is why they are annoying my husband. But you hear the whole story that goes along with them, and you hear it in Dane's wonderful, crackly voice, and you will go down so hard from the laugh whack that you may never get back up. Seriously. He's just absolutely hilarious.
Plus, I did mention drop-dead gorgeous, right? In fact, if I'm remembering paragraph eighteen correctly, I believe I mentioned "HOLY CRAP." Because man, not only is his face cute and his hair cute and his voice to die for, but he dresses outrageously cool as well. He's like the perfect little indie Boyfriend, with his rock tee-shirts and spikey 'do. He's so cool he's even come up with his own obscene gesture (in that photo above, the little hand gesture on the card is Dane's signature flick-off). Only extremely hip people can pull off something like that. Many try -- I myself have attempted something similar -- but only few have the punk points to truly succeed.
What's more, as a librarian and web developer, I fully appreciate the way he's built up his career. He started off making the usual stand-up circuits, performing here and there, working on his bits, struggling to become known. Then, a couple of years ago, he decided to take every dime he had and funnel it into the creation of a spectacular multi-media web site he could use to market himself. This he did, and thus was born his site, the aforementioned http://danecook.com. What's great about this site is that it was clearly developed by someone who had a clue, something that makes me want to weep with joy given the sheer quantity of crappy web sites I come across every single day in my professional and personal life. When you open the page up, you immediately start hearing clips from Dane's albums, but unlike a lot of sites who do this sort of thing obnoxiously, it's clear and easy to figure out how to shut this down. Sites that play music or other audio tracks when you open them up, but don't provide a clear OFF button, make me want to put someone's eye out with a fork. It's the number one thing you can do to make me leave your web site and never come back, actually.
Well, that and having any kind of animated, flashing text. Or colored text on an extremely patterned background. Or navigation buttons that don't tell you exactly what you'll get when you click on them, or that you have to hover over before you can even figure out if they're navigational in the first place. Or splash pages. Splash pages are stupid. Especially splash pages that just have a big graphic on them with a link that says "Enter here" underneath. I am so not going to squint just so I can make sense of your type. I am not going to hover so I can make sense of your links. I'm not going to splash. There will be no splashing. I have better things to squint at or hover over. Such as, for example, Dane Cook's behind. Humina humina humina.
Keep it simple, people. Is all I'm sayin'.
Anyway, Dane's site is easy to navigate, attractive, and also just really damn fun to hang out on. And, what's better is that he took a lot of flack for this gamble -- fellow comedians and friends told him it was a waste of time and money. Yet instead of failing, he's gone from relative obscurity to Saturday Night Live, the same show hosted by the likes of Steve Martin, in only a couple of years.
The man is a creative genius. A cute, tall, dark, funny, smart, creative genius. Move over, stern British dude and Grave Dodger, I've got some funny to take care of here first.
Now, in the spirit of this week's theme of procrastination and because it's been a long time since I've had to deal with a huge influx of hate email and I kind of miss it (note: joke), plus the fact that an awesome reader of mine emailed recently to ask if I would consider talking about music more often, allow me to take a moment to discuss the other guest on last weekend's SNL episode, musical guest James Blunt.
That last sentence -- the run-on one -- that's a sentence my Mom is gonna email me about. You watch. (Update: as predicted, she emailed me about it. However, it was to say it was merely sprawling, not an actual "run-on." Go Mom!)
This was really my first James Blunt experience, and I have to say, it didn't go very well. First, he sang the song, "You're Beautiful," and I immediately recognized his voice not because I watch MTV or listen to the radio, but because some song or another of his has been on about a gazillion TV shows lately. And since I'm one of those people who thinks it's kind of ridiculous how many shows are ending with little five-minute music videos these days, it's not a plus that James has been so prominently featured on so many TV show soundtracks. "Grey's Anatomy:" I'm talking about you here.
But the bigger problem was that as James was singing both his first song and his almost unbearably cheesy second song, he was actually making me fear for my safety. It was the bone-chilling stare he kept sending into the camera. I tried to find a picture of this look on the web, but this closest I could come was this photo, which doesn't quite match the intensity. But you get the idea. All I could think was that he looked like a meth user who was tweaking so high he had lost the ability to blink. Like, EVER AGAIN. And that if I made a single sudden move, he was going to leap on me like a zombie from "28 Days Later" and rip my throat out. Mmmrrraaaarrrr!
So, what happened was that I had to keep averting my eyes from the screen while he was singing. But then I couldn't stop peeking! Like, I couldn't believe anyone could look THAT SOCIOPATHIC and be singing a little love ditty at the same time! And the song was called "Goodbye, My Lover," which, in combination with The Look, was making me wonder if his girlfriend had just left him, or if he'd EATEN her and was all down in the dumps because he'd finally finished off the last of the leftovers. There's even a line that goes, "I'm so hollow, baby, I'm so hollow." Hollow -- as in hungry -- you see where I'm going with this?
Thus I was having a hard time judging his music on its merits alone. Instead, I was judging it extremely harshly, sort of as a protective measure. This was evidenced by the fact that for the rest of the day, I kept belting out at the top of my lungs, "Goodbye, my lovah! Goodbye, my friend! This is still a bad song. It's a BAD song in my head." Or, occasionally, my alternate version, "Goodbye, my lovah! Goodbye, my friend! You were so delicious! You were so good on my plate!"
Note: this is not how the lyrics actually go.
So, I was all set to slam on James Blunt today. Because even when he's not looking like a crazed psycho-killer, he's being a total cheesehead. In falsetto, no less. For one thing, a guy that young-looking should really never use the word "lover." Or, for that matter, the word "f*cking." But especially the word "lover," which is a word that can really only be used by older, sexier, more "sultry" people. It just sounds stupid coming from everybody else. James Blunt, you do not have a "lovah." You might have a girlfriend, but not a "lovah." You are not smoky enough for lovahs. Clive Owen or Tom Waits -- lovahs. James Blunt, "girlfriends."
For this reason, I was prepared to give James exactly one paragraph of total slammage in terms of his lack of cool, until I made two extremely terrible mistakes. The first was to buy his album (eh, I felt like I couldn't judge his music so harshly without listening to it, and I couldn't listen to it via SNL or a music video because I found his crazed look so horrifically distracting). After purchase, I started listening to it, rolling my eyes as predicted, until, after a few rounds, I kind of stopped hating it. And crap, now I sort of like it. This cannot be good for my image.
Or as Bucky Cat would say, "BOOP. Hello, Nerdstar? I've locked myself out of my cool."
The second problem -- the much more significant problem and the problem that has resulted in this tangent going on quite a bit longer and not being nearly as hilariously harsh -- is that I looked James up on the web and found out that before he was a singer, he spent four years in the Army, including a stint as a NATO Peacekeeper in Kosovo in the 90's. Remember Kosovo? If not, go look it up (or just listen to James's song "No Bravery," which is clearly about what he saw there). Because I'll be damned if I'm going to slam on ANYBODY who was in KOSOVO for not singing hipper songs once they got back. James Blunt has my undying respect from now on, even though he does sound like a preadolescent trying swear words on for size, and/or effect, when he uses the term "f*cking." James, you've got the shite, man. Keep up the good work.
Alas, despite all this, I still can't make James Blunt an official Boyfriend of the Week -- I'm afraid I make it a policy not to date men who look the rabid dog from "To Kill a Mockingbird." But I wanted to let you all know he has the Meg Wood Stamp of Approval as long as he doesn't get too close or start foaming at the mouth. And his album's not nearly as bad as I expected it to be. And also, while I'm at it, neither is the soundtrack to "Grey's Anatomy." Not that I bought that. Nope. Not me. I didn't buy the "Veronica Mars" soundtrack either. Huh uh. Nooooo way. I only listen to Sicko, the Ramones, and the Pixies. Yep.
What does all this have to do with Dane Cook? Very little, actually. Good thing I don't get graded on these. Anyway, listen up -- go to http://danecook.com, look at his pictures, listen to his clips, download an album (legally, please) and start laughing. If you don't think he's funny, then you don't think I'M funny either -- and so what are you doing here? Go back to SchindlersList.com where you belong!
MacGyver Factor Score: 93.294% I had to deduct some points for the time he described Charlize Theron's butt as tasting like cake when he kissed it. There's just something very un-cake-like about a rear-end, and the association is one I find oddly unsettling. Now when I eat cake, I immediately find myself thinking of Charlize Theron's rump. And while I'm sure it's very nice, it's not the kind of thing I want popping into my head all the time. However, I'm putting a lot of the points I took off for that back because, frankly, he has ear lobes that I'm just longing to nibble on. Is that gross? Nibbling the ear lobes of someone I barely know? It can't possibly be any grosser than the time I said I wanted to lick Mal's nose (from "Firefly"), though, right? I'm going up from there, aren't I? There isn't really any direction BUT up from there, right?
Also, James Blunt gets ten imaginary Boyfriend points back himself for using the word "shoeicide" on his web site, in regards to a farewell to a pair of boots while on tour in Las Vegas. Now that's funny, people.
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