Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Impatient Internet

I love the Internet. Let me state that unequivocally. I love to spend time on the Internet, have conversations on the Internet, share my personal life on the Internet, make the Internet laugh every now and then. I have a very strong connection with the Internet.

My relationship with the Internet is not without its flaws, though. The Internet can be prone to mood swings. Sometimes it can be up, and sometimes it can be down.

Lately, the Internet has been impatient with me. Jealous and needy, too. Just this morning, I logged in to the website for my cable company in order to pay a bill. Before I could type in all of my credit card information, my phone rang. It was a close friend of mine. I stepped away from my laptop and took the call. 

As I paced back and forth in the room, as I am wont to do during a phone conversation, I glanced at the computer monitor. A message was displayed on the screen. The Internet had noticed I'd been inactive for a few minutes, and was wondering if I wanted to remain logged in to the site. I placed my hand over the speaker on my phone and loudly whispered to the Internet, "I'm on the phone. Just hang on a second. Don't log me out!"

Two minutes later, I said goodbye to my friend and returned to my laptop. I had been logged out of the website. I was not happy. In a calm but stern voice, I asked the Internet, "Why did you log me out after I told you not to? You knew I was on the phone. Do you have any idea how long it will take me to re-type my credit card number? There are, like, 28 digits. And now I have to look on the back of the card again for that extra number I can never remember...argh!"

The Internet can act like that every now and then. It doesn't like it when I communicate with the outside world. The Internet wants me all to itself. What other explanation can there be when it logs me out of a website after a couple of minutes? It's trying to punish me for interacting with another human being.

I especially find this to be the case whenever I attempt to buy tickets to a concert online. The mere idea that I'd seek out entertainment away from the Internet, with someone other than the Internet, bothers the Internet to no end. So it makes a concerted effort to discourage me from making a purchase. It mainly does so by planting a countdown clock on the corner of the page. "Want to see the Foo Fighters live, huh? OK. Here are your seats. I will hold on to them for you for exactly five minutes. After that, I will release them to the public. Your five minutes Good luck."

It knows that I can't make an informed decision on the seats in five minutes. I need to consult an arena map to determine what kind of view the seats will provide of the stage, to find out where they are in relation to the nearest aisle. I need to make sure they are the best possible seats I can acquire for myself and my friends. But the Internet doesn't care. Instead, it gives me a countdown clock like I'm Jack Bauer tasked with defusing a ticking time bomb.

If I choose to confirm the seats that are offered to me before the clock expires, I move on to the next page in the ticket-purchasing process. So does the countdown clock. The Internet resets it and gives me five more minutes to enter my credit card information. My life becomes so much more complicated whenever I am required to enter my credit card information on a website.

The Internet isn't the only one that can be stubborn in this relationship. I never back down from these sort of situations. I simply remove my credit card from my wallet and type as fast and as accurately as I can. And I beat the clock every time.

The Internet does not like to lose a fight, and when it does, it finds one last way to get under my skin. After my purchase is completed, the website promises to email me my tickets right away. Yet the Internet temporarily withholds them from me, knowing that I start to panic when I don't receive a PDF in my inbox in 30 seconds or less. It lets me sweat a little. It derives some sort of sick pleasure from watching me anxiously stare at my email, awaiting the arrival of my tickets. One minute will pass. Two minutes. Three minutes. Five minutes. Eight minutes. Twelve minutes. Seventeen minutes. Sometimes the tickets will show up after 20 minutes. Sometimes after 30 minutes. Sometimes after several hours.

It bothers me when the Internet does this. It bothers me a lot. But I always forgive it in the end. It's too important to me. I need the Internet, and the Internet needs me. And as long as I have the ability to type my credit card information within five minutes, we can make things work.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The 2015 Golden Globes Opening Monologue You Won't See

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night. This will be the third consecutive year in which they will have hosted the ceremony -- and the third consecutive year in which they will have denied me the opportunity to host the ceremony.

I've made no secret of the fact that I would like to host an awards show someday. For a time I thought that 2015 might be the year I'd fulfill that dream, that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association might finally discover my immense comedic talent and ask me to emcee the Golden Globes. I'd proven that I could write my own material for their show. I created an entire opening monologue for the 2014 Golden Globes, even though I was excluded from the telecast, and it earned favorable reviews from dozens of critics: Facebook friends, Twitter followers, close family members. So imagine how crushed I was when I learned that the HFPA had locked in Fey and Poehler as its 2015 hosts back in 2013.

I'm not bitter. I understand why Fey and Poehler are favorites of the Hollywood Foreign Press. They are two of the funniest celebrities around, and I expect them to nail their opening monologue on Sunday night, just as they have the past two years.

Of course, I would have nailed the opening monologue had I been given the chance. In fact, I've written a new monologue for the 2015 Golden Globes. It's printed below for your enjoyment.

Tina, Amy...if you happen to stumble upon this post in the next few days, you are more than welcome to borrow a joke or two for your own monologue. Let me take that a step further: I am requesting that you use one of my jokes. It would be the least you could do for me, since you're both the reason why I'm not hosting the Golden Globes...again.

Without further adieu....

"Hello, and welcome to the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, live from the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. Tonight we celebrate and honor the finest achievements in the movie and television fields over the past year. Before I continue, I must point out that the script for tonight's show has received the approval of the North Korean government.

"As you know, officials there were upset with the plot of The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, because it depicted the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The film caused a lot of controversy. Private emails were leaked by anonymous hackers, threats were made to theaters that planned to screen the movie. One group even threatened to hack this ceremony and install James Franco as host. There is no better way to embarrass Hollywood than by having Franco host an awards show. Ask the Academy. The scars from the 2011 Oscars still run deep.

"But we are here to focus on the positive, not the negative. Hundreds of the brightest stars in show business are in attendance. There may be as many celebrities here as there were on the poster for The Expendables 3. Very tight-knit group, those Expandables are.

"I would estimate that at least half of all the actors in this room have either appeared in an Expendables movie or have been cast in a Marvel or DC film. If you're an actor and you are not scheduled to star in a superhero film in the next 10 years, you have failed in your career. Make no mistake about it. The general public won't accept you unless you star in a project based on a comic book. Look at Bradley Cooper. He was a somewhat-successful, somewhat-handsome actor until he voiced a raccoon. And now look at him! His career has taken off. He doesn't have to do another Hangover sequel for the rest of his life.

"Let's talk about tonight's nominees. Birdman is up for several awards. Great film. You may not realize this, but the full title of the movie is Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Actually, I stand corrected: The full title is Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire. 

"Birdman was, without question, my favorite film of 2014 that included parenthesis in the title. Definitely ahead of Guardians (of the Galaxy), Gone (Girl), and (Annie).

"Jennifer Aniston is here. She's nominated for her wonderful performance in the drama Cake. People magazine, Us Weekly and E! News are really pulling for you tonight, Jen. They would love it if you won your category and then maybe kissed your fiance at an after-party later while holding your award. That would make for a great story on their websites tomorrow.

"The television categories are once again dominated by cable and online programs. But there is some hope for network TV. The CW earned its first Golden Globe nominations ever for its new comedy Jane the Virgin. Congratulations to the CW, well-deserved. But some other broadcast networks didn't get their due, I feel. For example, MyNetworkTV. It was completely snubbed. I mean, how many more hours of Bones reruns does a network need to air in order to be taken seriously? How many more episodes of The Walking Dead does a network need to censor in order for it to receive the recognition it so richly deserves? Wait 'til next year, MyNetworkTV.

"It's time to hand out the first award of the evening. Our first presenter is a three-time Golden Globes host who is nominated tonight for his Netflix series Derek. Please welcome Ricky Gervais!"

Tiny Bits of Nonsense: December 2014

Here is the December 2014 edition of "Tiny Bits of Nonsense," featuring 10 of my tweets for the month:
Other bits of nonsense:
Holiday Season Edition
November 2014
Thanksgiving Edition
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014

April 2014
March 2014