A Week in the Life of a Hardcore Internet Journalist
posted by B on 7/17/01
My week, last week. I guess I owe you all an explanation.
Tuesday - WWF Smackdown Tapings
Being a wrestling fan is tough sometimes. It's no secret that I end up building my life and plans around a television show involving unrealistic men grabbing each other by the underwear. It's the most brain damaging, homoerotic, sexist, blasphemous way to spend two hours watching television without watching "Strip Mall" on Comedy Central. The only thing more blasphemous to most people than watching "Strip Mall" is to actually make love to the devil. Or Julie Brown, I get them confused.
Anyway, one of the things plaguing the honest, old school (I haven't been to high school in almost three years!) wrestling fans is the birth of the "casual fan." The casual fan is the guy who tunes in because he wants to see "OL' STONE COLD" or because he thinks the Rock rambling on about wanting to have anal sex with a bunch of guys is funny. More power to them I guess, and the last thing I want to be, other than a crack whore, is a snob about something I like. For anyone who doubts my wrestling fan lineage, I will personally destroy my sense of Internet privacy and grace you with some even older school (elementary) photos of myself with not one, not three, but BOTH members of the Rock n' Roll Express.
Most wrestling fans these days don't even know who the Rock n' Roll Express were, nor care. But I guarantee that they, as one of the greatest tag teams of all-time, paved the way for smaller, quicker wrestlers like Shawn Michaels or the Hardy Boyz to get their place in the sports entertainment spotlight. Also, some of the light reflected from Ricky Morton's frosted mullet can still be seen today, in areas with fewer street lights.
So I washed up my Edge and Christian shirt and prepared to spend an overpriced and probably unfulfilling night at the Birmingham National Woodpanelled Arena (I'm not sure what it's called, but on the outside it looks like your grandma's basement) watching the Tuesday night taping of the World Wrestling Federation's Thursday night show, Smackdown. With tenth row tickets I hoped to (possibly) get some steroid-warped blood on me and (definitely) have 90% of the show blocked by some kid in front of me with a cardboard sign. The sad thing about wrestling signs is that they're always so uncreative. It's always "AUSTIN 3:16" or "ROCK." You never see a sign that says "JIM ROSS EATS BRAINS" on it. Have you ever SEEN Jim Ross? The man's just a tattered dress shirt away from being the walking dead. Wrestling fans just aren't very observant.
Jeeeeesus Christ son, I know you wanna eat my little brains. UH UH...look at me when I'm talking to you, my name is Stone Cold Steve Austin, and I don't deserve this!
About two hours into the show I felt like my teeth were going to fall out and I was gonna start having sexual cravings for my cousins. Combining "wrestling fans" with "people from Alabama" is like combining "The Hindenberg" with an "active volcano." Shit's gonna explode, and I'm going to end up clutching my head screaming "OOOH THE HUMANITY!!! THE HUMANITY!!!" The inner wrestling fan snob wanted to climb out of my mouth and strange the tongue-ringed fifteen year old in front of me.
Me: All right, the first match is 3 Count (a wrestling boy band) against the Jung Dragons (wrestling ninja)! Excellent!
Lurlene (I guess): (looking back at me like I just slaughtered a puppy) WHURT?
Me: They used to be WCW guys. They consistently put on good matches.
Lurlene: What does that mean?
You'd think she would be asking me who they were, or what they do. No, she said "what does that mean." She didn't know what "consistently" meant. At the risk of alienating our female audience, I will reiterate a point I decided upon back when I wrote for a wrestling opinion website called Lethal Injection: There are three kinds of female wrestling fans:
Female wrestling fan 1) Enjoys wrestling for either the theatrics, athleticism, continuity or showmanship. This is desirable in any wrestling fan, and finding a woman who likes wrestling for these reasons is hard to find. There are, at least count, three of them in the known world.
Female wrestling fan 2) She watches wrestling because she is fucking somebody who likes wrestling.
Female wrestling fan 3) She watches wrestling because she wants to fuck one of the wrestlers.
Sometimes it gets even worse, and the female wrestling fan ends up writing "slash fiction" about her favorite wrestlers. For those who don't know, "slash" refers to any story about guys that ends in fudge packing. They say girls write these because they "can't stand the idea of the men they love with another woman." I say they write them because society tells people like me that it's not okay to hit girls, much less attack them violently with a chain saw.
Regardless, the show went on fairly well until the main event, when I made the mistake of being an interested fan who wanted to take a picture. My camera isn't one of those "spy cameras" that the Spy Kids carry around, it doesn't shoot any lasers or capture classified documents for International use. It's a regular, cheap, 35 mm camera. However, even though I was somewhere around ten feet from my seat, the yellow-shirted, pencil-necked geek of security bumrushed me. Perhaps it was the flash bulb going off that reminded them that girls would never find them attractive, or that they liked to molest children and goats or whatever, but something I did sparked an aggressive fire. It was like I'd stolen his science project and was holding it up, making him jump for it. He badgered me and badgered me until I took my picture. That's when I returned to my seat.
One of choda boy's larger security fiends thought I wasn't returning to my seat fast enough (I guess) so he shoved me in the back until I tumbled into the laps of some ladies and bashed my knees on the ground. Now, if they were hot ladies that would've been one thing. If they were Josie and the Pussycats or something I would've thrown the guy a party. But these weren't Josie and the Pussycats. Not even one Pussycat. These were women with chubby, oatmeal thighs packed into stonewashed jeans. When I pulled my head up I smelled like corn dogs and ass. So I yelled at security.
So I was thrown out. But I wasn't thrown out of the building, security isn't as smart as they'd like you to think.
I was dragged around backstage by a guy who could've fit eleven of me in his belly. I expected him to lose track of me and begin searching down any babies he could find wandering around backstage to eat. So, as he passed me off to the third security team (these guys had blue shirts on, so I guess they were TURBO Security), the grease took hold of his limbs and manipulated him over to the nearest funnel cake stand. I guess the guys in blue shirts have blue shirt to signify brain damage, because they just "tossed me out" in a different part of backstage.
So, after enjoying almost three hours of entertainment, I was allowed backstage to talk to, and even take pictures of, some of my favorite wrestlers, heroes, and idols. Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Chavo Guerrero Jr...not to mention one of my favorite people in the world, the only man confident enough in his heterosexuality to dye his hair purpley-blue and ADMIT to writing cheesy poetry. My favorite non-mist spitting wrestler in the world, Jeff Hardy.
He's lucky I didn't tackle him and implant him with my demon seed.
Good deal. Special thanks goes out to the brain surgeons of WWF Security. Next time "throw me out" with Zhang Ziyi and a bottle of baby oil.
Wednesday - Going to see Final Fantasy.
I've spoken of my love for the Final Fantasy series of games on several occasions, often in a whispered tone while averting my general direction away from any girls who might be wandering by. Truth be told I'm a shining beacon of high octane dorkatude on the inside, something I've been battling like a 6th level Rogue with a blanket and length of rope would battle a raging Swamp Hag! And we all can identify with the challenge there! I used to ride the bus with a bunch of D&D people, and they were always rambling on about having a "length of rope." I guess the whole Dungeons and Dragons "role-playing adventure game" is just a cover for kids too embarrassed to admit that they like chilling at the craft store.
When I graduated from high school I made a pledge to myself, a pledge which not only served as GREAT furniture polish but instilled within me two indisputable facts:
1) That if anyone excluding my parents and possibly highly ranking members of the clergy put a "KICK ME" or "I LIKE HAIRY MEN" sign on my back (again) I would not let the moon rise again before quickly ending their lives, and
2) I would never compromise my ability to be cool and healthy just because it's so much more fun to watch old episodes of Muppet Babies and eat Cheese Doodles.
To this day, with four justifiable homicides and a prestigious job writing for a website that routinely features pictures of Steve Urkel, I think I've done a pretty damned admirable job sticking to my pledge. Well, part of it anyway. One of those homicides wasn't fake-pat-on-the-back-subterfuge, I just shot him to watch him die.
Anyway, it was with my Social Outcast Chi stuffed firmly into the plastic ziplock bag of delusion that I attended the first possible showing of "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" on it's opening day. It's a movie that I had NOT been waiting since age fourteen to see, and a movie which I would NOT go into a la the proprietor of the Android's Dungeon. Are you beginning to see how the poorly associated ziplock bag of delusion works? Replace the "NOTs" in the preceding sentence with "VERY MUCH," doodle some hearts and stars around them on your computer screen with a glitter glue stick, and say it all in a high pitched voice while doing a queer little dance. That's how much I was looking forward to seeing the movie. Not since Josie and the Pussycats have I so eagerly anticipated wanting to see the proud, butter-laden face of American cinema peek through the heavy stage curtains of cultural mediocrity! Onward, to cinematic greatness!
That was actually a joke. Did you see the emoticons? Oh, wait, here they are :) :) :)
I put on my football helmet and went into this movie KNOWING that I would be the rose that grows in Spanish Harlem. Seriously, does anyone go to see a movie based on (or sharing a license with, at least) a video game and NOT expect to be elbows-deep in sticky Magic The Gathering cards? Read that, say it outloud..."MAGIC THE GATHERING." Does that make any sense at all? Probably about as much sense as mistaking social interaction with creatively arranging cards with pictures of fairies on them does. Yeah, thanks for inviting me to the comic shop for your Magic game slugger, I'll stop by right after I'm done fashioning my dick into a spear in the pencil sharpener. And hey, while we're on the subject of dicks, I'd like to personally thank Square Pictures for not putting the Lord of the Rings trailer before Final Fantasy, I would've lost consciousness and drowned to death in the sea of my theater's virgin ejaculate.
I'll trade you my "Wheel of Fortune" card for your "Jeopardy" card! No? How about deflowering me, then?
So how could I enjoy this film that I HAVE NOT been waiting for one-third of my WHOLE life to see? Easily! It's called productive planning. I would:
a) Make the trip to the movies a date, instead of a personal swanton bomb into loneliness. I managed to convince a lovely young woman to attend the show with me, who not only would enjoy the game but would be able to gripe about game-to-film inaccuracies right alongside me. I found a woman who's played Final Fantasy games? You're damn right I did, and it was only slightly harder than anally pleasuring ones self with ones nose, or finding a piece of hay in a big pile of needles. I guess it all depends on whether you're going for the bodily function humor or the slightly more literate play on cliche.
b) I could use those "movie critic" reasons for liking or disliking the movie, which will make my opinions more acceptable to the public. The animation was fantastic, it was almost like watching real people act! I thought it was a fantastic movie, except for the seemingly tacked on eco-ma-logical message which just didn't MAKE ANY SENSE AND DETRACTED FROM ALL THE GUNFIRE AND COMPUTER GENERATED BOOBIES! Then I could say something about how crisp the cinematography was and then set myself on fire. Or not. What I meant to say is that I'd avoid that whole "go with the crowd or go with the crowd who thinks they aren't going with the crowd" question by breaking some new ground and thinking for myself.
c) Raisinets. They're so gross and delicious, and I like to pretend that they are alive and possibly singing old Motown songs as I bite into them. I bet you didn't hear that through the grapevine you little bastards! Let's see them play the saxophone after I devour their souls!
So, as I sat down in the local Alabama ghetto movie theater between one fat guy with a goatee and ponytail and...another fat guy with a goatee and ponytail... I had everything set. I clutched my Raisinets close, put my arm around the foxy dame (ring-a-ding-ding), and practiced my "the film lowered itself from amazing to satisfactory due to the omission of the Nobuo Uematsu score" speech under my breath. Then I saw the teaser trailer for Spider-man and blew a load like a shotgun right through the back of the fat guy with a goatee and ponytail sitting in front of me. The whole "be cool" thing kinda went to hell from there.
So how was the movie?
It was damned entertaining for a science-fiction movie. It was more of a "Square Picture" than a Final Fantasy movie though. No Moogles, no Chocobos, and the omission of the Nobuo Uematsu score kinda lowered the film from being amazing to just being satisfactory. :) :) :) :)
Thursday - The Erection-Capcom Hypothesis
Thursday was moving day for me. Though I'd be leaving some important and meaningful things behind, the trip back to Virginia was completely rationalized. Not only was I doing the right thing for myself and people I care about in a mature manner, but I wasn't going to have to live in the ghetto of a city with it's wiener shoved deep into the very entrails of college football anymore. When you go to wash your clothes and the Laundromat has a big mural of Bear Bryant's hat on the side, enough is enough. And it's time for a change.
The day started off with my attempt to carry a giant television down several steps and across a parking lot covered with glass and kids that look like they should be hanging out with Fat Albert and playing songs about learning on the garbage. I could either shed my blood on the scorched soil of 'Bama and lose a few toes, or let my guard down for a moment and have my goods stolen by vandals, or gypsies with monkeys. After sufficiently breaking my back I moved on to a lunch at Denny's, where I discovered an abomination known as the "Chicken Parmesan Sandwich." I'm guessing that when the finest chefs in Tuscany prepare an incredible dish they want Alabama hillbillies in hair nets to dump it in grease and throw it onto a sandwich.
So, now that I've lost the use of my back and the use of my digestive system, what could be done to make the day more memorable? Why, a visit to the very girl who I had a crush on for something resembling seven years! Nothing like "just being friends" to make you feel better about being religiously repressed.
I expected the worst.
What I got, was a personal revelation. There are three ways to really get over a girl, and, thanks to my own depressing high school delusions, have done all three of them:
First of all, you can write about it. Anyone who's read Whatever-Dude and, more specifically, my sappy diatribes can assure you of both my heterosexuality (I'm trying to use that word as much as possible, ::nudge nudge::) and my obsessive compulsive memory. I've written about the good side of my high school crush AND the bad side of my high school crush. If you plan on doing something similar, keep it sane. Write about it in your journal or on a webpage or something. When you start sticking quills into your wrist and writing erotic fiction all over your clothes you're on the brink of insanity. Either that, or you write for the WB. But I guess if you wrote for the WB you wouldn't be writing erotic fiction, you'd be writing about how stupid white people are.
The second thing you can do is to move on with your life. After a while you start discovering other ways to feel emotion than pointless crushes, and, Josie and the Pussycats willing, you'll find other people who want to feel the same way about you. That's what I've done and I couldn't be happier. This also gives you time to actually utilize the "friends" portion of the "let's just be friends," and you start learning wonderful things about the person. Sometimes you even end up seeing them as a human being, rather than seeing them dressed as a hockey player and leading the New York Rangers on to Stanley Cup Glory. Not that everybody does that, my dreams all end up blending together. I'm glad I was around in 1994. It's gonna be a long 54 years.
So what's the last thing you can do? What every self-respecting man SHOULD do.
BEAT HER ASS AT VIDEO GAMES.
Don't pussy out and let her win, cause you wanna get laid. You're already NOT getting laid. Boys were born with gene, something in the Y-chromosome that allows us to be generally superior to girls in all dork sports (video games, backyard wrestling, anything that can be done holding a beer in one hand). Of course I remember the "gorgeous" Mora Grissom, who finished third behind Jimmy "The Wizard" Woods and Lucas ("I love the power glove...it's so bad") in the Nintendo Championships, but there are always exceptions to any rule.
With my Fred Savage temperament I took to the Marvel vs. Capcom machine and destroyed her pathetic team of the Hulk and Captain Commando with my Chun-Li-like offensive powerhouse, Gambit and Spider-man. If you've never played Marvel vs. Capcom it's a GREAT game, and would be easily the best arcade fighter of all-time if the casual viewer had any idea what was going on. In fact, most people tend to avert their eyes, rather than become blinded or driven insane.
Battling Seizure Robots
Bright colored people moving up and down quickly while sound effects go off, people jumping into the screen shooting missiles and throwing birthday cakes into the air. You hit the "light punch" button and Gambit flips around and executes a 4 hit combo. I think they made that game for mental patients, to improve self-esteem. Anyway, things were going great, bouncing around and having essentially no idea what was going on. That's when she popped the question.
Yes, that question.
The one all men my age, who grew up in an environment like me fears being asked.
"So what's the deal with Spider-man?"
The aforementioned inner-dork crashed head on like a horny ram into the aforementioned high school crush, and they were both destroyed. I opened my eyes and became enlightened. Then I finished her off with a Hyper Combo and explained that "with great power comes great responsibility." Then I beat her ass in air hockey.
Life is good.
Friday - Going to see The Score
Sometime Friday afternoon I arrived back in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was tough to maneuver a ten foot Ryder truck through streets littered with condescending religious pamphlets and recently burned heretics. It's the kind of town where you're more likely to see water turned into wine than hear about an abortion. Regardless, I was happy to see my parents for the first time in months. When I say that I love my parents I mean it like I would say "I love to breathe," or, if I was trying to cleverly cross-reference popular culture on an entertainment website, like I would say "I love to stab Andy Dick." The funny thing about that statement, however, is that I would NOT like to stab Andy Dick, both because of the severe criminal charges I would face and because I don't want to get semen and cocaine all over myself. How about "I love my parents like I loved the Josie and the Pussycats movie?" Yeah, that works.
Being my parents (who, although only in their early forties, tend to bow down to religious repression and hit the sack around 8 PM), and, being Lynchburg, our plans for the evening involved "going to see a movie." Long story short, the iron fist of Tinky Winky (and his friend, Jerry Falwell) tend to keep the good movies from showing in our theaters. I almost pissed myself when we got Princess Mononoke for a week, but the Klumps played at our mall for six months. Falwell doesn't just love Jesus, mind you, he's also a big fan of boredom. And while we're on the subject, cheeseburgers.
Trying to get my parents to see something creative or artistic (like "Moulin Rouge," mocha choka la ta) is like trying to get Andy Dick or Jerry Falwell to do whatever I can comically reference them doing. So our plan for the afternoon as to see "The Score," a movie full of so many highly acclaimed and undeniably talented actors that you just KNOW it's gonna be boring as shit. Also, when three of the four leads are over the age of 130 that the cynical MTV generation isn't a demographic held in top priority. My only succor came with the hopes that Robert Dinero would turn out to just be an extension of Edward Norton's personality, and would beat Marlon Brando's face into the ground. You couldn't have been a contender, you are not a unique snow flake!
Anyway, the Six Degrees of Bad Movie Jokes was the shining reason to like this film. You just don't find such an able cast in every effort. You'd also have a hard time finding an audience in need of rampant respiratory aid. Seriously, going to see "The Score" after "Final Fantasy" is culture shock at it's slowest. When you leave a movie smelling like Ben Gay you realize that you probably should've waited and saw it by yourself at the dollar movie. But hey, my muscles feel strangely relaxed now, so why should I complain.
The first twenty minutes of the film is like Chinese Water Torture. *drip* Robert Dinero looks pensive and speaks slowly, at a low volume. *drip* Marlon Brando staggers in, trying not to die, to slur some inaudible words (I could hear "fuck" a few times) about crime. *drip* Angela Bassett's hair looks like a poodle. *drip* And THEN...OH MAN, and THEN Edward Norton shows up doing a dead-on impression of a retard and the film is saved. I've always been a fan of Norton, but when he shows up in "The Score" it's like the clouds part and Jesus Christ himself walks in. Norton puts on a huge fuck-off backpack and carries the rest of the cast until the movie's over. Simply watching him go in and out of "retard" is a treat. And then his little brother gets shot and I learn a storied lesson about racism.
Haha, sorry to "spoil" American History X for those of you who haven't seen it yet. I know it's hard to fit in two hours to see a quality movie in the short time since it's release (1998), but for those of you who saw it...after the initial shock of Eddie Furlong getting his intestines blown into a urinal, did you laugh? I know I did, but I guess I'm a sick fuck for thinking about how pissed off the Terminator was gonna be, but after all I'd just learned a storied, storied lesson about racism. Racism is bad. BAD, BAD, BAD. Unless you can make money from being racist. Chris Rock is good. GOOD, GOOD, GOOD.
So if you're a fan of drawn out shots of old people sweating, "The Score" should be at the top of your list. Also, if you wanna see how 160 pound Edward Norton can carry 8,000 pound Marlon Brando for two hours, and you're from the Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, it should be at the top of your list.
Jeez...Marlon Brando fat jokes. I should write for Leno.
So, I'm officially back on schedule. So what have we learned from all this?
Stand up for yourself, and your dreams will come true.
Don't let other people tell you what to think. Don't be a snob.
Be confident in yourself, and your abilities.
Try to make better jokes than Jay Leno.
And, if you've learned nothing else, remember this:
Josie owns you.
Suck up the bandwith at Explicit Times