Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good Old saturDays.

In my 22 years I have seen the decline of many things: the economy, the environment, the morals of society, the expectations of the coming generation in regards to education and discipline, etc. But, of all the elements of my life, I think the most heartbreaking to watch go down that famous hill of disappointment and ruin is Saturday Night Live. It used to be an hour and a half of non-stop wit and hilarity. I was constantly laughing and thoroughly impressed with the material they produced. But nowadays I hardly ever watch it because I'm sick of being depressed by the immature and predictable jokes, smiling only during some of the sketches and laughing at maybe one during the entire show. What happened to the spot-on impressions from Phil Hartman and Darrell Hammond? Or the comradery of Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, David Spade and Rob Schneider? Or the genius pair of Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri? I mean there are too many names to list here, but seriously, what happened to all the talent on that show? Now that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are gone, the only good one left is Hammond. How sad is that? Only one talent on the show that used to be one of my favorite things about life. BUT this is the Easter season and we are celebrating a life and the good things that are in it. So, I've decided to post my favorite fairly recent sketch from SNL. Granted, it isn't quite up to par with the old standards of the show, but it does make me laugh and I like it enough to quote it, so they're doing something right. I even dedicated one of my eggs to it this year. So, congrats, Lorne Michaels, on being able to hold on, however weakly, to that last string holding your show above the chopping block. Oh, and bravo to Ben Affleck for an outstanding job of completely capturing the stereo-typed character in this one. Maybe you should consider hiring him, Lorne. (The video quality on this one isn't the greatest but it's the only one I could embed. For a better quality one, go to this link.) Enjoy!
target lady

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Favorite Songs

So, a friend of mine asked me to list my top ten songs ever. I instantly thought about three or four. The more I thought about it the more songs that came to mind. So, I pulled out my iTunes and started going through the thousands of songs I have on there. I asked my friend, "I have to narrow these down to TEN? There's no way!" So he said that I could fill a cd if that would make it easier. My first skimming of my collection gave me 130 songs that I simply love. After a long, hard deliberation process, I've narrowed the list even further to 22 songs. I had to make some painful cuts, like Frank Sinatra, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elton John and Snoop Dogg. But the songs that I'm left with I absolutely couldn't bring myself to delete off the playlist. Songs were picked either because of the music, the lyrics or the time in my life when I first heard them. They are all pretty sentimental to me. They might not be all that exciting, but I'm in love with this mix and am glad my friend put me up to this challenge. I've added all the songs that I could to my playlist so you can hear them. Enjoy!

22. I've Got a Crush on You performed by Casey Moore and Kelly Sweet ~This one isn't mainstream so you won't be able to find it... sorry. Email me if you want to hear it, I'll send you the file. But here's some pictures of the all-too beautiful singers.
21. Breaking Free from "High School Musical"

20. You Can't Stop the Beat from "Hairspray"

19. Carrying the Banner from "Newsies" ~ Couldn't find this one either, but I'm sure most of you have heard it. If not, rent the movie. It's well worth it. Here's a youtube video of one of the other wonderful songs from that movie:

18. Sky Blue and Black by Jackson Browne ~This one I really love because of the lyrics.

17. Even Now by Barry Manilow
~ I don't want to hear any harsh words about this man. I love him, and his music.
16. As Long As You're Mine from "Wicked"

15. You'll Be in My Heart from "Tarzan" ~ The only song I could find is the Phil Collins version, I prefer the movie one.

14. Someday We'll Know by Mandy Moore featuring Jonathan Foreman

13. Beautiful Disaster by Kelly Clarkson

12. Chasing Cars by Snow Patro
l ~I was introduced to this song after my uncle passed away last year. It was one of his favorite songs. And now it's one of mine. The musicality and the message are brilliant.

11. A Whole New World from "Aladdin"

10. Love Me and Trouble by Elvis Presley ~I know this one has two in it, but I just couldn't decide between the two and since I'm such a big fan of him and since the songs are both only two minutes each, I figured I could cheat a little and count them both as my number 10... and since there are two songs I figured I'd include my two favorite pictures of him.

9. The Luckiest by Ben Folds

8. Defying Gravity from "Wicked"

7. Brown-Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

6. Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) by Billy Joel

5. Out Loud by Dispatch

4. Your Smiling Face by James Taylor ~ I was talking to someone the other day about Sweet Baby James and he said that he didn't like him because he was a "pansy, heroine addict". Well, if that's what it takes to produce music like this song, then I applaud all pansy, heroine addicts. (... Just kidding, Mother.) For some reason I couldn't find this song on the playlist site and I couldn't find any versions like the original on youtube, but here's a video of the song in the live formatting that sort of ruins it. Oh well, it's better than nothing.

3. Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson

2. Flowing by 311

And, my number one song of all time. Drum roll please...

1. Hard To Say I'm Sorry by Chicago

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Scaredy Kat

I don't know who all heard that I got produced, but I think almost everyone knows that I want to be a writer. I never really considered writing plays though. I just always acted in them. But, some of my friends at the theater company I'm involved in bugged me annoyingly and consistently enough that I wrote a short play and submitted it to the festival they had going on this last December. My play was accepted and performed. It was pretty crazy to go watch a play and have the words and the story and the characters all be something that you created. It was a cool feeling. The story (as most stories are, I've come to figure out) is based on an actual event or two from my own life. I couldn't figure out how to attach it as a document, but it's not that long of a play so I figured I'd just post it here for everybody's reading pleasure. Thanks for anyone who has ever and continues to encourage me in my writing! A small victory like this play helps me keep my dream alive!

Scaredy Kat
by Brooke Nelson
Lights up on a campsite at nighttime. In stumbles GIRL with a flash-light, shivering, scared. She sits down and starts warming her hands at the fire. She’s miserable. She’s freezing and afraid of everything. As she hears the different noises of nature at night, she jumps and gets scared by each one. BOY enters in the background, GIRL doesn’t notice him. He watches her for a little bit. She gives up on warming her hands and starts looking for food because she’s starving. She pulls opens the cooler which is a little dirty on top. She’s disgusted by the dirt that gets on her and wipes it off. To avoid getting any dirtier she tries to use only the tips of her fingers pick things up. She pulls out a plastic bag with freshly caught fish in it.
GIRL: Blech.
She thinks she hears something and looks around. Nothing. She then pulls out a can of beans.
GIRL: Gross.
Again she thinks she hears something. She reaches back in and pulls out some trail mix.
GIRL: Ugh.
She gives up on the search for food. BOY then sneaks up behind her and starts making noises of ruffling in the bushes and trees. Then he makes bird calls. At the sound of a bird she becomes even more scared than she was before. Finally he comes up behind her and catches her off guard. She screams loudly.
GIRL: Matthew! You jerk! You scared me!
BOY: Haha. I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist, my little Scaredy Kat. You just jump so easily.
GIRL: I thought you were a bird or something!
BOY: A bird? Oh, heavens help us! Send a wolf or a bear, anything but a bird!
GIRL: Shut up! You know how afraid I am of birds.
BOY: (He goes to give her a kiss but she won’t let him because she’s upset with him. Realizing this he decides to kiss her on the forehead, which she allows. He wraps his arms around her to make her feel safe.) I’m sorry. It’s just hard sometimes, keeping them all straight: (As he starts listing things, she realizes that all of these things are here and possible threats at the campsite. She leans into BOY for security. Though as he names them all she becomes embarrassed at how long the list is.) birds, the dark, shadows, grizzly bears, spiders, bugs, butterflies—
GIRL: —Butterflies count as bugs.
BOY: They’re associated with rainbows and My Little Pony; they do NOT count as bugs.
GIRL: Whatever. They’re insects with wings: that equals scary.
BOY: Wings? What’s so scary about wings… of course, because birds have wings.
GIRL: It’s because when something has wings it can move anywhere it wants. There’s no predicting where they’re going to go next and there’s nothing stopping them from going there either.
BOY: Ah, I get it now, though that doesn’t really make it any less pathetic. Now, what else are you afraid of…
GIRL: No need to continue. You’ve proven your point. Your girlfriend is a pathetic weakling…
BOY: You’re not pathetic, just a little wussy. (Possibly mischievously) But I’ve told you, you don’t need to be afraid, I’m here. I’ll protect you.
GIRL: Uh-huh. Is that what you were doing when you snuck up behind me and grabbed me? That was protecting me?
BOY: Yep. (She glares at him) Well, no, that was scaring you. But you know that if there really was something to be scared of that I’d protect you, right?
GIRL: Yeah, yeah. (Small pause.)
BOY: So why did you come back here without telling me you were leaving?
GIRL: Because I figured you wanted to swim with everyone else.
BOY: And you don’t?
BOY: But you love swimming.
GIRL: Not when it’s freezing outside. That makes no sense to me. Why add to the cold by jumping into icy water?
BOY: (He laughs at her absurdity.)There’s no ice in there. And it’s not cold right now, is it? (Looks at GIRL, notices she’s shivering) Oh, sorry. (He immediately takes off his jacket and gives it to her. She puts it on over her sweater. He puts his arm around her to try and warm her up.) Is that better?
GIRL: (It’s not that much better, but she lies.) Yeah, thanks.
BOY: (The two of them react to a noise that they hear: GIRL’s stomach growling.) Are you hungry?
GIRL: A little bit.
BOY: Do you want me to get you something? We have… (realizing the only food they have is the food she doesn’t want, he feels bad.) …um… some left-over fish, or I could open up a can of beans.
GIRL: (Doesn’t want either fish or beans.)You know, I’m not that hungry actually.
BOY: But you just—
GIRL: I just remembered have some gum back in my tent. I’ll go get a piece in a minute.
BOY: Gum?
GIRL: Yeah.
BOY: That’s not food.
GIRL: I’m really not that hungry.
BOY: (Resigned) All right. If you’re sure. (Beat.) So, are you having fun?
GIRL: Yeah, it’s been really fun so far. (She’s lying, but the effort is a good one and it’s barely noticeable that she’s not being truthful.)
BOY: Right.
GIRL: What?
BOY: Nothing.
GIRL: You’re having fun, right?
BOY: I sure am.
GIRL: Good. (They smile at each other.)
(BOY gets up and shuffles around in the tent for a second. He comes out hiding something in his shirt or behind his back. He sits down next to GIRL.)
BOY: I have something for you.
GIRL: You do?
BOY: Yeah, a surprise.
GIRL: If it’s a bug, I swear to you, I will—
BOY: It’s not a trick.
GIRL: (Cautiously) A surprise? Why would you…
BOY: You were so cute tonight pretending like you liked the fish we caught. I saw you choking it down, trying to smile after each bite.
GIRL: Do you think anyone could tell that I—
BOY: No. I only noticed because I know you hate seafood. But I thought it was sweet of you to do what you did.
GIRL: I don’t want to be a damper on anything.
BOY: I know. I figured you’d be like that. That’s why I grabbed this for you on our way out of town. (He pulls out a box of Almond Rocha.)
GIRL: Almond Rocha! My favorite! (She kisses him on the cheek.) Thank you! You didn’t have to do that.
BOY: You didn’t have to come camping with me this weekend.
GIRL: Yeah, I did.
BOY: No, you didn’t.
GIRL: But I wanted to.
BOY: No you didn’t, you hate camping.
GIRL: I don’t hate camping.
BOY: How many times have I told you it’s pointless to lie to me? I can see right through you.
GIRL: Ok. I hate camping. But I know how much you love camping. And if camping with you means Almond Rocha, then I might just be able to enjoy it someday.
BOY: Oh you didn’t know that? Almond Rocha is more important than a sleeping bag in the camping world.
GIRL: Uh-huh, I’m sure.
BOY: Well, at least now it is.
GIRL: Haha. Ok. (She has snuggled up closer to him and has started opening the box and unwrapping some of the chocolate. She offers him a piece. She’s finally starting to enjoy herself a little bit. She even starts humming absentmindedly.)
BOY: (Watching her, smiling.) Ha. Wow.
GIRL: What?
BOY: I’m so glad I tricked you into dating me.
GIRL: You didn’t trick me.
BOY: Of course I did. How else would a guy like me have gotten a girl like you?
GIRL: I had a… lapse in judgment?
BOY: Well whatever it was, I’m a very lucky guy. (He’s never been this open and complimentary before with her, but he can’t help it.) I mean, you’re so giving, and thoughtful and funny and quirky and intelligent and beautiful and…
GIRL: First the chocolates and now the compliments, what’s gotten into you?
BOY: Kat, I… ugh!
GIRL: Is everything ok?
BOY: Yes. It’s more than ok. It’s perfect. It’s unbelievable. That’s why… It’s just that… I want to tell you something…
GIRL: You do?
BOY: … but I’m a little scared.
GIRL: You scared? I thought I was the one… what could you possibly be scared of? (She looks at him and smiles. He can’t help but smile back.)
BOY: Ah! I don’t know why. I guess I’m not scared, just nervous— no, anxious. Ok. Well, like I said, you’re wonderful and I don’t know how I’m the one who gets to hold you and stand next to you and claim you as my girlfriend but, I… ugh. Well, the thing is, Kat, I love you.
Boy goes in to kiss girl. WHAM! Head-butt to BOY’s nose from GIRL
BOY:… Sorry?
GIRL: Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to do that! A bug flew in my ear.
BOY: Gosh! (Laughing but grabbing his nose in pain.)
GIRL: I’m so sorry!
BOY: Geez. You wait months to— and you finally work up the courage she head-butts you in the nose!
GIRL: —I’m sorry! Gosh, I’ve ruined everything!
BOY: Is it bleeding?
BOY: Are you sure? It feels like it should be.
GIRL: Oh, Matt, I’m so sorry.
BOY: (Laughing) I’m sorry for offending you…
GIRL: You didn’t. I just… the bug… and my ear… it was just an instinct, I never would have—
BOY: It’s fine.
GIRL: I really never—
BOY: It’s fine. I believe you. But, man!
GIRL: I am SO sorry! I can’t believe I just did that. I’m sorry.
BOY: Kat, I’m ok. Really.
GIRL: Really?
BOY: Really. I just feel sorry for the guy that ever tries to get too close to you without your permission.
GIRL: (Finally laughing.) Me too, I guess. Well, as long as there are bugs around.
BOY: Yeah, for real! Note to self: next time you tell her you love her, make sure it is in a bug-free zone.
GIRL: Do you really mean it?
BOY: Of course. My nose can only handle so much.
GIRL: That’s not what I meant.
BOY: I know it’s not. And yes. I do love you. I have for a long time now.
GIRL: You have?
BOY: How could I not? Ever since that night in October.
GIRL: Which night?
BOY: That night in the park. (She doesn’t know what he’s talking about.) You know, when you practically skipped to the swings you were so excited to get on them, and I told you I didn’t like swings and you almost had a heart attack.
GIRL: Oh yeah.
BOY: It was so adorable how much joy you got out of those things.
GIRL: Wait, but we weren’t even dating then.
BOY: I know.
GIRL: Then how could you know that you…
BOY: Hey, it’s not my fault. If it’s anyone’s fault it’s yours.
GIRL: Mine?
BOY: You’re the one who made me feel that way.
GIRL: Haha. If you’re going to look at it that way then, (grins exasperatedly) I guess… I’m sorry.
BOY: Don’t be. I’m not.
GIRL: Well I am: your nose is already swelling. Hold on. (She goes into ice chest. Wraps some ice up in a plastic something or other. He holds it on his nose.)
BOY: Thanks.
GIRL: You’re welcome. (Pause.) Why did you wait so long to tell me?
BOY: I was afraid.
GIRL: Afraid? Why?
BOY: (Points to nose like it’s obvious.) Of the repercussions.
GIRL: You were afraid that a bug would fly in my ear and cause me to head-butt you in the face at the exact moment you opened your mouth?
BOY: Well, I was justified in that fear, wasn’t I?
GIRL: Come on.
BOY: Well, think about it. If I had told you how I felt about you before we even started dating, what would you have done?
GIRL: (Thinks about it. Laughs.) I would have laughed in your face.
BOY: Yep. And then?
GIRL: …And then I would have gotten scared and stopped hanging out with you.
BOY: But you’re not scared now, are you?
GIRL: (Pause) No.
BOY: See. It would have been too early back then. And it would have been too early if I had told you when we first started dating, or when we were just getting used to the fact that we were dating. It would have been the same result if I had told you anytime before this weekend, when I knew you were ready to hear it.
GIRL: And how did you know I was ready to hear it?
BOY: Because you’ve finally fallen in love with me, too.
GIRL: Ha! That’s kind of a cocky thing to say.
BOY: But it’s true.
GIRL: I didn’t say that.
BOY: You don’t have to. (She looks at him, a little shocked at how he can read her.) Not that it wouldn’t be nice if you did.
GIRL: I… I… (She gulps.) I do. I love you.
(He smiles. Starts to go in for a kiss, stops, checks her ear for bugs, realizes he’s safe, and kisses her.)
GIRL: But how did you know?
BOY: Because you hate being cold, you hate being dirty, you’re afraid of bugs, afraid of the dark, afraid of birds, afraid of…everything, and yet, you’re here camping, with me. How could there be any other explanation?
GIRL: Wow. I really didn’t have to say it, did I?
BOY: Haha. Nope. But I’m glad you did.
GIRL: (Giggles in realization.) Wait, so we’re… in love?
BOY: I think so. (She giggles some more. He kisses her. They hold each other for a beat.)
GIRL: Oh! Does this mean now that you’ll go to the opera with me? After all, a bunch of fat Italian people singing on a stage can’t be nearly as scary as all of this, can it?
BOY: (Cringes at the word “opera”.) But you see, you’re a much better person than I am. You look at your fears and you conquer them.
GIRL: Please? … I love you.
BOY: Now wait a second, you can’t start saying that every time you want something and just expect it to…
GIRL: (Giving him puppy dog eyes, feigning shocked pain.) You don’t love me?
BOY: Of course I— Ugh! All right.
GIRL: Yay!
BOY: But that’s only working just this once.
GIRL: Uh-huh.
BOY: And I get to pick the opera.
BOY: There aren’t any with a huge spider as the main character, are there? Kind of like the huge spider I put in the bottom of your sleeping bag? (Creepy-crawls his fingers up her shoulder as he says this.)
GIRL: Ugh! I hate you!
BOY: Haha. No you don’t.
GIRL: No, I don’t.
She plants a kiss on him as…
Lights Out.