February 2, 2010

An Honor to be Nominated

Posted in Just Darn Clever tagged at 9:13 am by Andrew

The media only focus on the marquee categories, so you probably didn’t hear my awesome news this morning — my film was nominated for an Academy Award! I know…it’s awe-inspiring…and so humbling. Everyone says this, but honestly, I don’t care if I win because it’s such an honor to be nominated.

I’m a nominee in the category “Humorous Short of a Minor Relative and Family Pet in Bad Light with No Audio, Blog Post.” You may recall the film I posted here last year…in which our family cat swoops in to eat my daughter’s Ritz cracker, which has fallen on the floor. My daughter then turns to the camera and gives a precious befuddled look that I believe cinched our nomination. You just can’t teach that kind of acting, and as a director I’m blessed to work with an actor who really channels her inner muse and manages to find a thread within her character and just runs with it. She’s such a pro, and really, this nomination is for her, not me. I’m just glad she’s getting the attention she deserves.

I’d show you the video, but I sold the rights to a mid-major studio. (And you didn’t hear it from me, but it’s all over the Internet, so just look for it over there.)

I must say, I was impressed with the rigorous vetting these films received from the Academy. I was required to provide a birth certificate to prove my daughter is a “relative,” the “bad lighting” criterion was verified with a spectromeasurometer, and apparently they interviewed hundreds of film professionals before determining my film actually qualified as “humorous.”

As a director, I would have it no other way. We pour our souls into our work, so it’s refreshing to know some schmoe can’t just waltz into this category.

Anywho, the next month will surely be a daze, what with the endless interviews and comparisons to seminal blog video posts as “Baby Falling Asleep in High Chair” and “Man Takes Wiffle Ball to the Groin.” I’ll let others debate my place in history. My job is to stay grounded and remain committed to my work.

Thank you to all who support my art form. I’m blessed to be able to do what I love, and all the attention and fawning is just gravy.

See you at the after party!


January 19, 2010

Haiti Loves Cell Phones

Posted in Just Darn Clever at 9:39 am by Andrew

A few thoughts on the Haiti tragedy:

San Francisco Perspective. If you’re looking for a way to help your kids grasp the magnitude of last week’s earthquake, consider this: The Haiti quake measured a  7.0; the 1989 San Francisco quake was 6.9 — essentially identical earthquakes. The death toll in Haiti is pushing 200,000. San Francisco’s death toll — 63.

That disparity and the many causes/implications there of are staggering. This is an opportunity to talk with your kids about the impacts of poverty…the benefits of a structured government…the role of building codes and inspectors…purpose of taxes…the evils of corruption…and the need for a world view.

Honestly, kids who are exposed to such conversations and concepts become the adults who can think with depth and creativity. The other kids will join the mass of dolts and lummoxes.

Media Coverage. I’ve heard several commentators and media outlets compliment themselves for their outstanding coverage of the relief efforts. I agree that the broadcast media are doing well. But that’s in relation to their generally poor coverage of everything else.

The role of media is to report news. Problem is, media  outlets wildly outnumber newsworthy events. As a result, they’re forced to fill their time with “analysis” — otherwise known as “poorly educated vapid opinion.”

So now we have an event that truly is news. The situation is very fluid in Haiti, and we need updates on the rescue effort, airport operations, looting, the wounded, death toll, costs, Haitian leadership, global leadership, and so on.

In short, news media are finally doing their job. And when we start hearing reports about “what should have been done differently”…we’ll know things have plateaued in Haiti.

Cell Phone Nation. For perhaps the first time in a decade, the existence of cell phones has had a positive effect rather than sapping society of decorum and common sense. The ability to text HAITI to 90999 and donate $10 to the Red Cross has been incredibly successful. According to the Red Cross, as of yesterday the texting program has raised $20 million. At $10/pop, that’s 2 million donations. Amazing.

And it’s safe to assume the majority of those texters are under the age of 30, a demographic that isn’t typically at the top end of charitable giving. So much of that $20 million represents “new money” in the disaster relief arena. Sure, some of these texters probably don’t even realize the $10 will show up on their bill…maybe they think it’s some form of text magic…or more than likely, they have no clue how it works. Ignorance and a cell phone is charitable bliss.

January 8, 2010

Terrorists Deserve Nicknames Too

Posted in Just Darn Clever tagged , at 9:21 am by Andrew

So today’s the court hearing for that guy who tried to blow up a plane near Detroit on Christmas. It’s getting a ton of coverage, as is the terrorist himself – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. It’s similar to the coverage of Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s ongoing trials in New York City.

So I’m wondering — will the media give Abdulmutallab a cool nickname like they gave Mohammed?

Remember that? The media call him “KSM.” (Wall Street Journal did it; so do CBS and Fox.) It’s entirely too difficult to spell out…or even say…Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Couldn’t possibly expect journalists to spit all that out, and Lord knows we Americans can’t be expected to process such bizarre names. Farouk? Abdulmutallab? I’m confused already.

Plus, nicknames put a human face on these terrorists. So maybe Abdulmutallab will become known by his initials, “UFA.” We could call him “Ufa.” That sounds nice.

Or we could stop being so formal and just call them by their first names, Khalid and Umar. Terrorists have such a bad reputation — nicknames could help soften their image.

In fact, we could relieve much of the angst surrounding the whole terrorist concept if we gave them really cool nicknames. Like “Blaze”…or “Viper.” Wouldn’t that just be great!

So I’m excited to see how the media play up Super Fly’s trial….oops, that’s my nickname for Abdulmutallab. I don’t know if it will stick. Given that he carried the explosives in his underwear, I wouldn’t be surprised if the media call him something like “Farouk of the Loom,”…or just “Wedgie.” But that seems cruel.

We’ll just have to wait and see. Keep up the good work, media!

December 23, 2009

My Christmas Letter

Posted in Just Darn Clever at 9:48 pm by Andrew

In the spirit of the season of giving season’s greetings of joy tidings, I’ve decided to share with all of you my Christmas Letter. It’s OK if you didn’t get me anything…you can make it up to me next year. Here goes:

Merry Christmas! We hope this card finds you with all the blessings…well, we just hope this finds you. Here’s what we’ve been up to all year, since we haven’t spent the time communicating with the likes of you:

My wife’s been busy with Tot-Toos, her new chain of semi-permanent tattoo parlors for toddlers. (The tattoos are semi-permanent, but at this rate, the parlors appear to be very temporary.)

I’m finally living my dream, as a choreographer for the Fox hit “Glee.”

Our eldest is 13 now so, you know, he’s cool. His day was fine. Whatever. Geez!

Our 10-year-old is fascinated by Twitter…so much so that he will now only communicate via Tweets. While the house is much quieter, it can be challenging to communicate with our son. Ironically, he doesn’t even have a cell phone – his “tweets” consist of wadded-up balls of paper that he throws at us.

Our youngest is a girl…and the youngest, so she’s perfect and spoiled, of course, as nature and common sense dictate.

And that’s about it. We hope with all our might that your every dream come true in the New Year. We also hope to actually speak with you next year. Just don’t count on it.


December 9, 2009

Look, Look! A Zhu Zhu!

Posted in Just Darn Clever tagged at 10:07 pm by Andrew

In case you haven’t heard, the hot toy this year is the Zhu Zhu pet, a battery-operated hamster that’s supposed to be better than real because it doesn’t eat or excrete.

Here’s a video demonstrating the unbridled joy kids experience with these toys. It’s bizarre and hilarious…and you won’t be disappointed. Here’s what you’ll see:

  • First, check out the 2nd girl in the video…the one on the right. She’s clearly overwhelmed by these electic hamsters — all she can do is point indiscriminately. The girl’s parents must be mighty pleased with those acting classes they sprung for. The director must have said, “OK, Jenny, you’re the pointer…I want you to point point point…see a Zhu Zhu and point!…bang bang bang, Can you do that for me?”
  • Second thing I noticed…where is this commercial supposed to be taking place? It’s obviously not a kid’s room — a cavernous space with multi-colored lighting, devoid of furniture save for 3K worth of Zhu Zhu products? Or are we looking at a secured wing of a psychiatric ward, where children with pointing problems can be left alone with electric pseudo-pets?

So before you buy your kid a zhu zhu for christmas — hip-checking fellow parents into the shelves to get your mitts on one — watch the above video a few times. Is your child ready for such fun? Or will she be reduced to a poor little pointer girl?

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