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Archive for November, 2009

A Race For Film’s Sake

Posted by evankessler on November 25, 2009

This past week several friends got together to race against time for the sake of a film.  For three straight days from Thursday to Saturday; Jason S, Morwin, Suli, Andy S, and myself (with a few brief appearances by Rich M) put on our creative thinking caps to hash out a script and ultimately engage in yet another labor of artistic love…if you could call it that.  The meetings of Thursday and Friday were wrought with much tension as we came to bat for the scripts that some of us had individually written.  There were semantic arguments, discussions over location possibilities, and debate over the structure necessary to create hilarity.  In the end, the resultant product was “The Magazine Thief.”

While in all honesty, I was not in love with the script or idea for the film; I have to say that I was more than delighted to take part in the process of making it.  Ever since the Chris Cartwheel experiment I’ve grown quite fond of showing off my lackluster acting skills and I am even quite delighted to take direction.  I find that having experience in production makes all the difference when understanding where a director is coming from in reference to the constant need to redo scenes from all angles. I always relish the chance to make one take better than the last.

Andy, Suli, and Morwin On Set

While everyone’s acting skills, as always, exceeded expectation, the person who continues to impress me the most is Jason.  Not only was he fantastic in April’s “Light’s Camera Cartwheel with Chris Cartwheel” as a crazed customer, but this guy knows a thing or two about makeup as well.  Given certain wrinkles in our script, we were going to need an old man.  Having had some experience with cosmetic prosthesis,  Jason went to the store and then proceeded to spend 2 hours applying it to himself.  In the end, we had an old man.

Jason In Preparation

Old Jason

In addition to Jason’s acting and makeup skills, Andy deserves a lot of praise for his directorial and editing abilities (and dealing with the old woman who wouldn’t leave us alone and stuck her finger in his butt-crack), not to mention his openness to suggestion.  Between efficiently churning out all of the scenes on location and putting all of it together and making it flow, you couldn’t have asked for a more competent head of production.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Andy’s semi-hired gun Taylor who did a great job lighting and shooting the last couple of scenes we shot.

Andycam

Ahmad Getting Into Score Mode

Ajay Writing A Little Ditty

Ajay WRiting A Little Ditty

Out of all of the projects we’ve done together, this certainly had the most professional feel, from the wireless lav mics down to the HD quality, not to mention Rich’s graphics and the fact that Ahmad and Ajay continued to produce some of the best score music and theme songs possible.  It gives me much hope that our next film will be even better and we’ll eventually win one of these things, though I think we can do much better than winning some “Film Racing” contest.  I think we need to strike out on our own and just start filming webisodes of something.  Waiting months for someone to give us a contest to enter seems like a waste of talent and time.

We’ll see what comes to pass in the future, but we’re still dealing with the present right now…and at present what we’re dealing with the film we made this weekend.  So without any further ado, Geniot Films presents “The Magazine Thief”:

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Jon & Kate’s Expiration Date

Posted by evankessler on November 24, 2009

Yesterday evening the very last episode of the half-hour-long child exploitation-athon and bad parenting primer known as Jon and Kate Plus 8 took it’s final bow on TLC. On the bright side, when the Gosselin kids want to recall their childhood trauma in therapy years later, all they have to do is pop on season 4 disc 2 and watch it with their analyst. While, we the viewing public will always have our memories of the early years of the Gosselin kids, after 5 seasons and 116 episodes it’s time to move on.

The show’s loyal legion of viewers will have to find something better to do than watching eight children have tea parties or mill around aimlessly while their parents argue, angle for sponsorships and scar them for life with TV cameras following their every move. So what’s next for fans of the show who have a weekly 30-minute void to fill now that Jon and Kate has reached it’s expiration date?  We at OneRiot have a few ideas:

  • Exercise- The American Heart Association recommends that all adults get at least 30-minutes of physical activity each day.  Now’s your chance America. Enroll in a spin class or better yet, Jazzercise!
  • Cook- Rachael Ray boasts cookbooks full of 30-minute meals. Rather than sit in the KFC drive-thru waiting for your bucket of the Colonel’s Original Recipe that you were planning on eating during the show, why not use that half-hour of extra time to make a home-cooked meal?
  • Make Sweet LoveThe average lovemaking session lasts 15 minutes.  Why not try to be above average by trying to occupy the 30-minutes previously taken up by Jon & Kate with a bit of romance–or you know, just go twice. You might end up having a “plus 8” of your own.
  • Spend Time With Your Kids- If you have kids and you’ve forgotten about them for the 30-minutes each week that Jon and Kate are damaging theirs; what better way to reconnect by reading them a story –or following them around with a video camera to see if they have an on-screen presence you might be able to exploit given the current void in the reality TV child exploitation market?
  • Develop A Hobby- Building model airplanes is great fun–and the glue, well that’s another story altogether.

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Galileo and the Case of the Vanishing Fingers

Posted by evankessler on November 23, 2009

Many great mysteries plague modern man. Amongst them: what is the meaning of life; how did we get here; and where did we misplace Galileo’s fingers? The first two still haven’t really been answered satisfactorily, but this weekend we found an answer to the latter.

In 1737, after the esteemed scientist was moved to his final resting place, three fingers were cut from his hand, along with a tooth from his lower jaw. Tabs were kept on these digits and lone denticle until 1905 when a sealed jar containing 2 of the fingers and the tooth mysteriously vanished. A miscellaneous jar of fingers popped up recently at an auction where it was purchased for a presentlly undisclosed price. The purchaser promptly brought his dismembered digits to the Museum of the History of Science in Florence where the find was brought to the public’s attention.

We’re glad that Galileo’s fingers are resting safely in the hands of the science-minded, but there’s one question that begs to be answered: “why was this person buying fingers in a jar at an auction–and if they weren’t Galileo’s what was he/she planning on doing with them?”

We here at OneRiot have our suspicions. After all we know what we’d do with two fingers.  Here’s a list of things we would do with a pair of disembodied fingers, Galileo’s or not.

1.Make An Ironic Peace Sign connecting two dead fingers to pretend as though they’re making a peace sign would make a real artistic statement against the horrors of war–or the price of peace protesting.

2. Complete Our Human Body Puzzle-
We’ve been rummaging around in landfills for years looking for spare body parts to make an awesome human body puzzle. We just need 2 fingers and a head. Unfortunately, someone outbid us for two fingers. We’ll find a head yet.

3. Ransom- No better get rich quick scheme than a little ransom note with a finger inside to say you’re serious. Of course, if the fingers are hundreds of years old it’s like nobody actually got hurt in the process. It’s a win-win. Plus, with a pair of them you can send ransom notes to two separate parties.

4. Fashion A Laser Pointer- Hollow out the finger flesh to make a cool shell for a laser pointer. So that when you annoy someone in a classroom or meeting you can disguise this nuisance of a device as your actual finger.

5. Clone Galileo– Assuming we know this is Galileo’s finger, why not use the DNA from the finger to clone the scientist so that he could help solve current problems?

If you had a pair of disembodied fingers, what would you do?  Leave a comment to join in the fun.

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The Heirs to Uga VII’s Throne

Posted by evankessler on November 20, 2009

Some of us are born into greatness and some have it unexpectedly thrust upon us and never learn to deal with it, leading us to end up in rehab.  You can count the University of Georgia’s Mascot Uga VII amongst the former. The purebred English Bulldog proudly represented the University of Georgia on the field of athletic battle after the passing of his father Uga VI– the winningest mascot in the school’s – by amassing a 16-7 record as the sideline inspiration for the Football team bearing his breed as their nickname.

This brave beast may have inspired many a hard fought victory on the field, but he learned the hard way that you can’t win all of life’s battles.  Uga VII passed away yesterday at the tender young age of 4 (or 28 in dog years). His standing as college football’s #1 mascot will always be a proud badge of honor worn by all those who knew him. With Uga VII gone and no successor currently named, there are a few mascots nipping at the departed Bulldog’s hind legs to be the new…top… err…dog. Ok, bad choice of words–top representative.

Here are just a few that would love to be named the #1 Mascot in all of the land:

  • Otto- Official Mascot of the Syracuse Orange; This fuzzy and fruity dot regularly delights fans by being a literal ball of orange-hued energy. His actual form is as ambiguous as the school’s nickname, The Syracuse Orange. Orange is a color…the mascot is orange. Makes enough sense.
  • Benny The Beaver- It must take a lot of fortitude to inhabit the suit of Oregon State’s mascot.  I imagine there’s a constant barrage of “beaver” jokes hurled in your general direction from both your own fans and fans of the opposing team.  Lots of points for dealing with that.
  • The Bird (Air Force Academy)- The Bird is an apropos mascot for the branch of the Armed Forces dealing mostly in flight. Also in the event the team is beating a hated rival on the road, he might be inclined to show off his “flipping” ability– if you know what we mean.
  • Keggy The Keg- This Unofficial Mascot of Dartmouth really cuts to the chase of college life. We can’t imagine a student body not inspired by Keggy’s presence.  Go Dartmouth!
  • Cayenne- University of Louisiana Lafayette employ a Cayenne Pepper as their mascot. Normally we’d find it difficult to root for a vegetable, but this spicy choice for an area best associated with some spicy food just seems to make a lot of sense.
  • The Stanford TreeThis no frills mascot wins major points for it’s ability to effectively camouflage itself in a forest…or a stadium.

There are probably hundreds more mascots where that came from, but none have so ably embedded themselves in our psyche as these beacons of team spirit and that old college try. Sorry Notre Dame, your belligerent Irishman just didn’t bowl us over.

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Grounded for Flight

Posted by evankessler on November 19, 2009

The minutes leading up to any airplane departure can be wrought with restlessness and boredom.  That’s why most airport interiors resemble malls. What better thing to do before you leave a city than stimulate its economy because you can’t go anywhere else. Many cities across the US are benefiting from this not-so-coincidental combination of commerce and aviation today, as an FAA glitch forced all sorts of flight delays across the nation. We here at OneRiot don’t want to speculate that this is just a government conspiracy to stimulate the economy, but we’re pretty sure plenty of folks are milling around airports with money to spend, curiously eying that kiosk with the $300 noise-canceling headphones.

We know there are more desirable ways to pass the time when you’re waiting to fly the friendly skies than dilly-dallying in the duty free shops.  So if you’re stranded at your gate and your flight is running late we’ve got some ideas to help you deal with being marooned at the skymall.

  • Introduce Yourself To Your Fellow Strandees- People in the same lousy predicament love complaining to one another and giving each other incredulous looks every time another announcement is made about more delays.  Introducing yourself gives you the ability to put a name to each pained grimace.  “This sucks, doesn’t it Dave?”
  • Ride the moving walkways It’s always fun to compare yourself standing still on the moving walkway with people who are actually walking.  Which one is faster?
  • Eating Contest There’s bound to be a Dunkin’ Donuts somewhere near your gate.  Have each participant buy a 60-pack of munchkins. Whoever eats the most both gains the most weight and can tell all of their friends they won a competitive eating contest.  If pride isn’t your idea of a prize, then gather up enough money to buy the winner a souvenir of that particular city, so they’ll always remember that magical day in Cincinnati.
  • Discover New Hobbies and Interests- The airport magazine store has a vast array of titles covering a wide range of subjects.  Everything from Cat Fancy to NASCAR is at your fingertips.  Maybe when you return home to that lonely urban apartment you’ll realize that your life would be a lot more fulfilling if you had a Calico Kitty rubbing against your leg and purring constantly.
  • Read a book- Sometimes imagining characters in your mind is a heck of a lot better than dealing with those that surround you.  Especially if they’re engaging in some of the activities above.

If none of the activities pique your fancy, we recommend bellying up to the airport bar and learning about the sales business from Rusty, who’s in town from Tulsa for a conference.

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Have Fun IN SPACE!!!

Posted by evankessler on November 18, 2009

Spending time in space may sound great in theory. You get to see the rest of the universe from a perspective witnessed by only a handful of human eyes; maybe you get to go for a few spacewalks and repair a few things, but in the end it usually boils down to being stuck in the same spot with the same views for days on end with very few options for entertainment.

With Atlantis docking today at the International Space Station a motley crew of six astronaut dudes will be joining a lone female for eleven days over the Thanksgiving holiday to perform experiments and other boring science stuff. We’re not sure how much free time they’ll have, but just in case they have plenty, we have a list of suggestions of fun things to do when you’re outside of Earth’s atmosphere that are made that much cooler by the knowledge that any activity sounds better with the word “space” in front of it. So without further ado OneRiot’s list of Fun things to do… in Space:

  • Space Invaders- We don’t mean play the video game.  Simply see how much you can invade the personal space of your fellow astronauts until it makes them angry.  Helluva way to pass the time.
  • SpaceBall- It’s like baseball but with zero gravity and lots of fancy dials to damage that might result in you never returning home again.
  • Space Disco Trips to space in the 60’s through 90’s were undoubtedly lame based on the fact that there was only so much musical entertainment you could bring aboard in the form of cassettes, records, and CDs.  We’re sure some of the astronauts have their iPod up there with some kickin’ dance tunes.  Have the boring astronaut stand by and flick the lights on and off while you show off your dances moves.  Do the SpaceTwist or Space Running Man.
  • Expose Yourself- We know you can’t breathe in space…but what would happen if you took off a glove or something while you were taking a spacewalk?  Try it.  What’s the worst that could happen?
  • Space Talent Show- The first astronaut to resort to juggling is immediately disqualified.
  • Space Relations- We’re not sure of the relationship status of all of the astronauts, but for our money, there’s no better pickup line than “Have you ever done it…IN SPACE?”

We’d imagine taking up any of these activities while trapped in the interstellar vacuum above Earth would be substantially better then sitting on your Space Ass or staring out the Space Window eating Space Ice Cream. In fact, we’re willing to concede most astronauts would be over the moon with the wealth of such out-of-this-world activities. Ok, no more space puns.

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RIP Quizmaster 72: Ken Ober 1957-2009

Posted by evankessler on November 17, 2009

Li’l Evan Kessler wasn’t like the other kids.  MTV mattered and not much else did.  Sure, I watched shows like Perfect Strangers, Family Ties, and Growing Pains, but between episodes of Pinwheel, You Can’t Do That on Television and network appointment TV, most of that broadcast space was filled in by one channel.  That channel was MTV.  As one of the first kids on my block to have access to Music Television, I was transfixed by the endless stream of videos that would forever retain classic status and satisfy my need for nostalgia nearly 30 years later. From pop music stalwarts like Talking Heads and Madonna to lesser known one hit wonders like Luis Cardenas, I loved it all.

While most of the airtime over the first couple of years on the fledgling, soon-t0-be- iconic pop culture network was reserved for a steady stream of videos, band interviews and bantering VJs; perhaps my favorite half-hour in early days of MTV was the game show known as Remote Control.

Featuring unassuming host Ken Ober, the gruff announcing voice of Brooklyn-native Colin Quinn, comely Kari Wuhrer and budding talents like Adam Sandler and Denis Leary; MTV’s first original non-musical program was reflective of the off-the-cuff attitude embodied by an idea as crazy as “Music Television” was at the time.  Whether contestants were choosing to answer questions from silly categories like “Dead or Canadian”  ( I swear I remember someone answer Canadian for Elvis Presley once) and “Leave Out The Beaver”; listening to character driven soliloquys from Stud Boy or just singing along with Colin; the show reflected the notion MTV was an experiment that didn’t take itself too seriously and was more concerned with celebrating popular culture than being it’s sole arbiter.

Remote Control was a shining example of the MTV I fell in love with.  Between the snack breaks and losing contestants being sent hurtling through the backdrop still attached to their la-z-boy chairs, there was a clumsy charm, a tongue in cheek sense of humor, and ultimately MUSIC VIDEOS!

The people weren’t all pretty, but they were having fun.  I’m not sure when the current, glossy, self-important sheen that’s depicted in shows like “The Hills” took over the network (though my semi-guess is when the sex and immaturity based humor of ‘The Jenny McCarthy Show’ took the place of actual humor produced by “The State”) and maybe with the vain nature of the pop star it was there all along. But for me early MTV’s devil-may-care attitude  never shone as brightly as it did in those 30 minute romps from 1987-1990 hosted by Ken Ober.  Sure there were plenty of great videos that came after and a few great shows as well, but Remote Control might just have been the program that showed me just how fun it could be to watch TV.  So when I heard last night that the host of my favorite late 80’s game show had passed on before his time, I didn’t shed a tear, but I certainly felt like a small part of my childhood had died with him.  Rest in peace Quizmaster 72. You will be missed.

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Oxford Gets Unfriendly

Posted by evankessler on November 17, 2009

Having 825 Facebook friends can often be a burden. The constant string of unwarranted and obnoxious status updates can drive a social networker absolutely batty. Treading lightly and keeping a finger on the “remove connection” button has become such a necessity in our digital society that the act of eliminating said connection, a.k.a. “unfriending,” has now emerged as a predominant daily quandary for the net set.

Though this writer prefers to refer to it as de-friending, the Oxford American dictionary has chosen to recognize the former term as its “word of the year”– narrowly edging out such strong contenders as “sexting” and “hashtag.” In celebration of the emergence of such popular new verbiage, we here at OneRiot thought it a good idea to proclaim our favorite words of the past several years. So whether you like it or not, here our list of the best words that have recently worked their way into the lexicon:

1. DVR
We know it’s three letters, but along with Tivo these three letters have managed to save our television viewing lives from an onslaught of car commercials, because who buys a car based on a commercial anyway?

2. Sexting-
There’s no word that sounds like what it means more–and it means good times or getting expelled from high school.

3. Truthiness- Stephen Colbert‘s linguistic triumph was truly the perfect way to describe the regarding of a gut feeling as fact, regardless of any evidence stating the contrary– a practice held in high esteem by many a news network.

4. Meep- This onomatopoeic word isn’t necessarily new. It was Beaker from The Muppet Show‘s sole form of communication way back when. However, its recent controversial revival as a jack-of-all-phrases at a High School in Massachusetts had parents and teachers rumbling. Needless to say, the coolness factor is immediately upped when parents just don’t understand.

5. Totes- Bringing the valley girl style to a lazier generation. Totes is “totally” for people who can’t be bothered with three syllables–and it’s totes fun to say.

6. Tweetup-
Meetups between Twitter followers where they prove their social ineptitude by spending the majority of the time ignoring who they are hanging out with while tweeting to their followers not present about whom they are hanging out with. Sounds exciting.

7. Celebreality-
The alternate universe lived in by b to d-list celebrities, in which they are followed around by VH1 cameras for the sole purpose of proving that their mundane existences and unrealistic methods of searching for love may be more interesting than that of the public at large.

Many more new words have triumphed linguistically over the past few years, but trying to name them all would require thumbing through a very large book called the Oxford American Dictionary, and frankly we just don’t have the time to engage in such balderdash.

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Hillary and Sarah’s Starbucks Summit

Posted by evankessler on November 16, 2009

On this weekend’s broadcast of NBC’s Meet The Press, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told host David Gregory that she’d find the prospect of sitting down with Sarah Palin over a hot cuppa joe “very interesting.”  All of this hullabaloo stems from a passage in the former VP hopeful’s book “Going Rogue” where the hockey mom intimates that if the two ever did sit down for some java they would “fundamentally disagree on many issues.”

While that assessment is probably an understatement, we think these two ladies could stand to learn a lot from one another.  We’re not sure if this Starbucks Summit will ever take place, but we have a few ideas about what might come up should these two very different female heads of state ever sip together in or out of the political realm:

1. Geography- Ms. Palin knows where Russia is and now has even seen parts of Asia. That’s a lot of foreign soil. However, as a former first lady and current Secretary of State, we think Hillary can help school Sarah on world capitals and foreign leaders that she can’t see from her porch.

2. Hockey- As a self-professed Hockey Mom, Ms. Palin sure knows her way around the rink. SP could explain to Hillary why after the 2004-2005 NHL lockout the league’s decision to abolish the two-line pass rule and institute overtime shootouts were pivotal to the survival of the “coolest game on earth.”

3. Raising Daughters- Both of these women know what it’s like to have a little girl as the apple of their eye. Both had obviously different approaches to raising them and teaching them the birds and the bees. Palin went with the celibacy-only option and based on the activity of Hillary’s husband, that was never an option. Funnily enough, these approaches turned out opposite of what you’d expect. I’m sure they’ll laugh and laugh over this one.

4. Being Overshadowed By Successful Husbands-
Sarah: It’s hard to be the well-liked female governor of Alaska when your husband is a champion snow machine racer that everyone loves and respects.
Hillary: Tell me about it. My husband was President of the United States.  That’s like the champion snow machine racer of politics.


5. Folksiness
– Many perceive Hillary Clinton the necessary “cold bitch” ideal for diplomacy.  Ms. Palin might recommend dropping some of her g’s in order to achieve folksy charm, which in turn could help disarm Iran’s leaders and their military.

There’s probably plenty more common ground we’re not thinking of, like where to buy the best feminine power suits or the best firearm to use from your helicopter, but until Starbucks Summit actually happens, all we here at OneRiot can do is speculate.

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9-1-1 Is No Joke

Posted by evankessler on November 13, 2009

Public notice on highway

Image via Wikipedia

According to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, “911 lines are designated for emergency calls, such as reporting a crime in progress; reporting a fire; or requesting an ambulance.” Notice that nowhere in that official description was there mention of a “sexual emergency.”

If only Joshua Basso had access to that description prior to calling every living heart attack victim’s favorite three digits, he’d have saved himself from a heap of trouble–and not sexy trouble like getting a flat tire in a porn film. The 29-year-old Tampa Resident was arrested after aiming lewd comments at a 9-1-1 operator and subsequently throwing in a little “my place or yours” action in the hopes of completing a titillating tryst with said catastrophe clerk. We understand Basso’s reluctance to dial a 1-900 number on account of the hefty cost, which is no small change when you’re unemployed, but there are certain things you just can’t justify calling a public emergency hotline for– and dirty talk is most certainly one of them.

In order to get a handle on other emergency phone-pas, OneRiot is taking a stroll down memory lane and throwing in some new suggestions of our own of when not to call 9-1-1″

1.Fast Food Fix- From the woman in Haltom City, Texas who dialed the three magic numbers to complain that her local Chinese restaurant had been skimping on the shrimp to the recent incident in Hawaii when a drive-thru customer rang to complain over a missing box of OJ from his Mickey D’s breakfast; these are situations best left for a managerial complaint or the Better Business Bureau, lest the cops consider the withholding of a single prawn to be a hostage situation.

2. When You’re Being Adorable- Kids are adorable and sometimes adorable kids make life- saving phone calls. Sometimes they just want help with their math homework.  Awww.

3. Fictional Character Medical Emergency If you just so happen to be watching your box set of Dallas and you get to the point where someone shoots J.R., do not call 9-1-1.  JR Ewing is not a real person and judging by his lack of scruples he probably deserved it.

4. Marijuana Overdose Hockey Score Curiosity-
Getting really high on pot by eating a whole bunch of brownies and having a freakout is sort of a medical emergency, but needing to know the score in the Red Wings game is not.  If you can use the phone, you can probably also turn on ESPN.

5. Your Child Has Not Floated Away In A Balloon- If you own some sort of Mylar balloon that was set free and your child is not inside of it floating across the state at great heights and you don’t fear for his life…you should probably not call 9-1-1.  It will save you, the 24 hour news networks, and the general public a lot of time and grief.

Let this be a lesson to you.  If you tend to over-react and have an itchy phone trigger finger, take a deep breath, step back and assess the situation before calling 9-1-1.  It’s for emergencies.

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