Friday, April 08, 2011

Here's what I did today

First I woke up and got dressed and did all the regular stuff you do when you wake up.

I went to a copy store to get some large papers scanned into jpegs. A friend of mine works there and we talked for awhile about his new baby. He took the papers and said they would be scanned in by Monday; I could come by whenever and pick them up.

I had noticed a new Mexican restaurant next door to the copy store and wanted to try it out, but there was a line out front. I could not tell if the line was to get into the restaurant or if it was people waiting for cars they valet parked, but upon realizing the restaurant had valet parking I decided against eating there.

I went to another Mexican restaurant I have frequented for years and ordered so much food. I read free newspapers and ate. I sent a message to Twitter about how restaurants in that particular neighborhood should not be allowed to have valet parking during the daytime. I considered writing about how the restaurant was a VHS rental place like a year ago, and who are they to be all fancy, but I decided the original, briefer message was funnier and anyway I was going over the character limit.

I went to the college radio station where I DJ and I DJed for an hour. Before and afterwards I went to the campus bar and drank some beer. The show went well and I played several songs I really enjoy. Afterwards, while at the bar, I got a text message from an old friend saying there was "free booze!" at our high school, and some other old friends are there, and I should come by. This weekend is my ten year high school reunion, and there are a bunch of homecoming-type events going on.

I decided that would be fun so I drove to my old high school. On my way I passed another high school, which was hosting some sort of livestock exhibition. There was a big metal structure out front with a bunch of goats in pens, and hay everywhere. I leaned out my window and made two loud goat noises at the goats. I am really good at making really loud goat noises, it's just kind of one of those things. It was really fun. Some of the goats looked up at me as I drove off.

I showed up at my high school and was stopped at the front entrance by an off-duty police officer hired to do security. He asked me if I was here for the play or the alumni event. I told him I was here for the alumni event. He told me to drive straight and I did. I had not been back to my high school more than once or twice since I graduated.

I saw a big outdoor tent set up and people dressed up for a cocktail party. There was valet parking. I asked if I could park my own car and they said it was okay. The event was much more formal than I had anticipated. It is a private school and this was the sort of thing where they try to get alumni to donate money. I think. I don't know. I don't know what it was but it was not what I am used to doing on Friday evenings and I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a rabbit on it and I didn't see anyone I knew.

I walked past everyone around the corner of a building to call my old friend and ask him if he was here or if he had tricked me or what. He didn't pick up so I called him again. Two off-duty police officers hired as security guards came around and asked me what I was doing there. I explained that I was an alumni and here for the alumni event, but realized as I was speaking that I did not know anything about the event I was supposed to be attending. They told me I did not look like I was supposed to be there. I told them I did not know it was going to be so dressy.

The whole time this was happening I was half-laughing because I was trying to figure out the best way to articulate the obvious metaphor to the off-duty police officers. Luckily the group of people I was there to see saw me and everything was kosher. I ended up telling the police officers that I went to the school for seven years and was used to this sort of thing, which wasn't the best thing I could have said but I hope they got the gist - not so much the fact that it was cops, just the general scenario. Anyway they were ultimately very friendly. I walked back to where the big tent was and avoided eye contact with everybody I didn't know. I continued to be dressed the way I was.

I said hi to some people who used to be teenagers with me. Some work at oil companies, one is a lawyer, I think one works at Microsoft. I told people what I do. I made light and pleasant conversation with a half a dozen people. I saw lots of people who did not graduate the same year as I did, talking to each other. There was an open bar and there was lots of food. I had a Bud Light and tried to stay out of the way. I felt very underdressed and out of my element, but in a fun, enjoyable way. Standing outside in the courtyard, looking at the buildings and the trees, I barely recognized the school at all.

I talked to best friend in sixth grade. He was the first friend I made at that school. We were both really into comic books and alternative rock. He's a teacher there now. We had not spoken in years; he says he does not really keep up with our classmates, but he thinks about the old days all the time. I don't know how you wouldn't. We caught up for awhile. It was good to see him.

I asked if he was going to go to our real reunion tomorrow, the ten year thing for our grade. He said he wasn't sure but didn't think so. He is married now with two kids, one pretty much a newborn, so that's what he does now. He was also put off by the fact that they rented out a restaurant patio and they are charging fifty dollars a person. I was put off by that too. He said we should've just bought some kegs and had the party at the school. I thought that sounded really fun. Maybe the cafeteria or something.

I told him that if the school ever needed an alumni guest speaker for chapel he should call me. He said something positive but noncommittal, which was a good way to respond. We laughed about the thing with the police. I told him I wished I'd thought to dress up a little more but was still glad things happened the way they did because now I have that story forever.

I said goodbye to my friend who works for our school and drove home.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

An open letter to Charlie Sheen: Please just die

(Note: this was originally written for, my employers for the past couple of years, who were for whatever reasons horrified when I turned it in)

Dear Mr. Sheen,

Sometimes it is hard to make the obvious choices in life. It took you years to cash in on your asshole partyboy image and sleepwalk through a maddeningly popular sitcom that's enabled you to become richer (and higher) than Christ and the Beatles combined. It may have been hard for you to give up on the idea that you might someday make another Platoon (or even The Chase) and lower yourself to do a television program that, by all measurable standards, defines Middle American middle of the road. But look at yourself today, lounging in your indoor swimming pool filled with cocaine and breast implants, relaxing after another endlessly Facebook-quotable interview with The Today Show or CNBC or The Miami Student Times or whoever was next down on the totem pole. You've got to admit that selling out was the right thing to do.

Which is why I'm imploring you to continue embracing the path you have been so vigorously pounding as of late. Please die, Charlie Sheen. Please, please die.

Die spectacularly, violently, in a way that people only dream about. Die publicly, loudly, profanely, nakedly. Don't die like a mere superstar, or even just a plain hero. Ke$ha is a "superstar." A dog who saves a cat's life is a "hero." Die like a visionary artist, or a freedom fighter. Die like a demigod. Die in a way that people will finally understand the Charlie Sheen that only you so far seem to understand; the Charlie Sheen who shoots poetry and magic from his fingertips; the Charlie Sheen whose very essence is pure narcotic toxin too potent for mortals to shoot, snort or freebase; the Charlie Sheen who is whatever the hell else crazy manic bullshit you've been sputtering. Die where there are plenty of people around to photograph and film it.

Construct a helicopter shaped like your flaccid, hungover penis and crash it into your mansion. Self-finance your own Major League 3 (or technically 4, but... no, you're right, it so completely does not even matter) and ride a motorcycle into an explosives-laden bus in the climactic final scene - you'd have to get it right in one take but you can do it because duh, you're Charlie Sheen! Round up every single one of your friends from the past fifteen years (hookers) and reenact that naked rollerskating death scene from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (if you haven't seen it, it's exactly what it sounds like). Pay the half man from Two and a Half Men to chase you through a shopping mall and stab you in the neck. Nobody's going to stop him! People love you, Charlie!

Do whatever you like - I'm sure you've got plenty of better ideas - so long as it ends with you dying until you're dead. And please, try not to kill anybody else while you're at it. Maybe a couple paparazzo. But remember - this is your time to shine, Charlie.

Because it's all about to go downhill. You know that, right? You must know you're peaking... You must be able to feel it in your nigh-invulnerable bones. You can pass as many drug tests as you like - black-market nun urine remains cheap and plentiful - and you can imaginatively threaten as many television executives as there are stars in your head, but eventually the ever-fickle public is going to turn its attention to the next psychotic egotist. Even if you win your lawsuit against CBS, even if you subsequently turn it into an all-pornography network, even if you are allowed to behead Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre and wear his head around your neck like a Flava Flav medallion, people are going to stop focusing their energy on you. The time to act is now, and the smartest thing you can do is clearly to take your own life.

Wrestle a great white shark in a tank filled with liquid pharmaceutical cocaine - and then, after you win (you winner, you!), drink the shark's blood (and whatever may be leftover in the tank) and chastise the attending spectators for their bloodlust and lack of faith in your superhumanity. Then shoot yourself in the face. It will probably take more than one bullet (you = Charlie Sheen) but it needs to be done. Humanity needs to be taught a lesson - nothing can defeat Charlie Sheen, and Charlie Sheen can defeat anything. Why even bother playing out the rest of this Two and a Half Men debacle, or for that matter the rest of your dumb life? Why bother talking to these dullard news reporters, wasting braggadocio that seasoned battle rappers would sell their rims for on the likes of Good Morning America and the guy who used to work for Inside Edition? Why spend so much of your (admittedly inexhaustible) energy convincing the world what, if we haven't figured out yet, we're probably never going to get - that Charlie Sheen is a superhuman creature of power and light, whose bountiful talent and infinite love we have taken for granted like spoiled, ungrateful heathen brats.

The worst case scenario is that mankind learns the error of its ways and vows to take a lesson from you, while you ascend to the Right Hand of God where you shall sit at his side, judging the quick and the dead while a choir of angels provide you with all the sandwiches, massages and handjobs CBS so cruelly withheld. Meanwhile back on Earth, after a prolonged period of mourning, wailing and gnashing of teeth, humanity will unite in their grief, taking the appropriate lessons from your death and your glorious, spectacular life. The Alpha will become Alpha-er, and the rest will get out of their way. Society will realize how wrong it's been to let feebleminded dorks peddle sham concepts like "addiction," "bi-polar illness" and "it is not cool to hit women" for so long. Hookers will at long last flourish in a free-market economy. Dudes will wear sunglasses indoors.

The best case scenario is one that I'm sure you've been suspecting for awhile now - namely, that you are an Immortal and cannot be killed. Save for your increasingly melty candle face, I cannot offer much in the way of an argument against the idea that you will live forever no matter how many times you try to shoot yourself in the face. If ever there were a time to test this theory, it is now. Please, Mr. Sheen. Please. I know you've got another television interview lined up soon. Stab yourself in the eye in front of Katie Couric until you die or defeat death entirely. It must be done. I would help you if I could.

You have so much to offer. Think of all the good in this world, all the joy and all the happiness. Think of all the sorrow and the sadness, all the people who aren't sure where they're going in life or how they're going to make it to tomorrow. Think of all the kindly talk show hosts and pundits who have been there for you these past couple weeks, graciously enabling you to loudly and publicly wallow in your brilliant disease. Think of all your fans, the beautiful nation of blog commenters and Entertainment Tonight rubberneckers hanging on your every word, breathlessly rooting for your glorious victory over CBS and, by extension, your even more glorious self-immolation. Think of the children, Charlie Sheen. Hurry up and die, people are starting to get bored.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

An Amusing True Story About This One Time I Tried To Prevent Date Rape

On my way from my car to go see a couple of bands play at a bar I notice a couple walking on the sidewalk about a half block away from me, a man and a woman, both dressed reasonably nice. The woman is talking loudly and angrily and having trouble walking in a straight line; the man is doing his best to steady the woman.

I cross to the other side of the street and keep walking.

As I get closer I can see the woman is not just drunk, but extraordinarily, famously drunk - frat party drunk, comatose drunk, vomit-at-any-minute drunk. Sick drunk. She seems to be struggling weakly against both gravity and her companion, who does not seem inebriated whatsoever, and moreso than that seems to be doing his best to shut her up and hustle her into the apartment complex they're now standing in front of.

It's not quite ten PM, central standard time, on a Saturday night.

The woman is clearly angry at the man, and clearly not used to being this wasted. The man, on the other hand, seems every bit as calm and collected as the woman is upset and disoriented. He also looks about ten or fifteen years older than the her, now that I've got a better look. The woman is yelling at him now, pushing at him. She takes a swing at him with her purse, misses, and falls squat on her ass.

I've had friends who've been drugged at clubs or bars. It's awful. When she fell onto the pavement like that I had to stop walking.

"Hey! Is everything okay?"

The guy looks up while attempting to help the woman off the ground. He seems more agitated now. "Yeah, we're fine."

The woman has been yell-muttering unintelligibly this whole time. She does not like being helped up. "She's just drunk is all," the man says. The woman starts protesting semi-coherently.

I'm bad at confrontation and I'm good at minding my own business but at that moment I was beyond pissed off at the guy. He went on a date with some girl, doped her up, and now he's trying to hustle her into his apartment before she passes out. At that moment he was everyone who's ever taken advantage of anyone else.

I raised my voice. "It's not even ten o'clock. Who gets this drunk at ten o'clock?"

He sighed a little bit. "My wife."

She steadied herself on his shoulder and yelled across the street to me "It's because I'm a Republican and he's a Democrat!"

I smiled and wished them a good evening, told them to take care. I continued on to the bar, grateful for the happy ending. I felt like shit.

Monday, May 18, 2009

If you are into Twitter I have one of those now

It's right here. I've only been doing haiku so far and I think I'm going to be able to stick with it. Feel free to be my Twitterbuddy or however that works.

I am Twitterbuddies with Slim Thug, it's awesome. He doesn't want to take blood pressure medicine because he won't be able to get an erection. This is a fact that I know.

Also totally do go to to see things I do.

(side note: if you would describe yourself as "into Twitter" without being prompted, no offense but we would probably not hang out as I still don't get what it's about and in a lot of ways I am weird about the internet to begin with)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Hi there Houston: I will be at the Art Car Parade Saturday drawing stuff for free

The Art Car Parade is an annual event here in town where people who drive Art Cars come from all over the country and close down streets I usually drive on and a lot of years I forget about it until I have somewhere to go and I see all these orange cones and I go "shit, it's this thing again." I have been before and it's pretty neat, though; people from all over the country who drive Art Cars (which can range from cars meticulously decorated to look like things like sharks or tanks or cockroaches to just cars with a bunch of random shit glued to them for no good reason) come to my town and go crazy for several days, and it culminates in a big parade on Saturday.

I have been set up with a little booth where I'm drawing pictures for people, taking requests like with the thing I used to do with index cards. It should be a lot of fun. Come say hi if you live where I live and are going to be at the parade and I'll draw you something silly.

In other news, Funniest British and/or Jewish Comedy and/or Music Trios Week continues for some reason on Finalists include The Beastie Boys, the crew from the Ricky Gervais Podcast, Yo La Tengo, Stella, and The Police (that one should be up sometime later today).

Monday, May 04, 2009

What you have been missing if you haven't been looking at

A bunch of stuff by a bunch of people writing about stuff, first of all. If you were specifically interested in stuff I was doing:

Lotsa comics (scroll down a little bit)

One of my favorite local bands plays a song in my living room

Marmaduke Explained (still pisses me off after almost three goddamn years)

Coming soon: a review of the Godfather Part III where I mostly just ask a bunch of angry rhetorical questions and swear, a review of the Wolverine movie co-authored by my childhood, and a continued listing all week of the Funniest British and/or Jewish Comedy and/or Music Trios.

Check out the Now Train, future-style! (tm)


Thursday, April 23, 2009 - Joe Mathlete returns to the internet! Like, every damn day!

First of all: BUT: Maybe more importantly:

Ruined Movie Soundtrack Smorgasbord

As you guys have noticed, I don't update this blog very often anymore, nor any of the blogs I keep. There are reasons for this: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You may not find all of those valid or relevant, but they were all factors for me laying lower than I did in, say, 2007. But if you miss those heady times when I worked an office job and was so bored that every day I'd do something like replace one word from every headline with "Grandpa" (I had better days, too), well, I wanted to let you know I'm writing stuff on a daily basis again, and you should read it 'cuz it's good.

The website, like it says up there, is That's the latitude and longitude of Houston, my hometown, of which I am very fond (true story: I am actually wearing a shirt that says "it's okay to (heart) Houston" right now; I considered taking a webcam picture of the lame coincidence but a) seemed contrived and b) I've had the flu for a week and a half and I look like a doodoo zombie.) Though the site is Houston-centric, I won't actually be writing about Houston too often, though.

My section's called Time Suck, though I'll sometimes be doing work in other sections. I'll be giving them at least one post a day, plus two original comics, "Sauce Policy" and "Dating is Hard" (you can scroll down to see the first few) and a poorly-shot video of a band playing in my living room every two weeks. They haven't really set any limits for me; they've actually used the words "my playground" more than once, which I am okay with.

Honestly, the guys who have started the site have been enormously cool to me; my editor, Sara Cress, has given me an enormous amount of creative freedom, and between my freelancers checks and living like a pauper in an extraordinarily affordable city I am able to live mostly off of this. After a year and a half of working mostly as a movie theater lackey (see above, "How Was I Not Fired"), a grocery store food guy (it was a really good one but had crazy downsides, and anyway they fired me) and an actor (shut up), it will be wonderful to focus on writing goofy shit again, and drawing goofy shit again, and actually spending time on the internet again. I hope you'll check it out.


Joe Mathlete

P.S. -- I literally did almost forget this: Starting soon, I will be doing Marmaduke Explained on the new site. Like, regularly.