NOTE: If you are easily offended by offensive things then please go somewhere else. I suggest pbskids.org or barbie.com, you wuss!


SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE TO LISTEN TO MY HILARIOUS AND WILDLY OFFENSIVE PODCAST!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Focusing On The Fire ...



Christmas eve was horrible. I had to work. Usually Julia gives me Christmas eve off because I have a wife and two kids and she's sympathetic to that. But she's managing two stores now and she's spread thin and I had to work Christmas eve. It was horrible and stressful and loud and crazy and when the angry buff mexican dad almost beat up the white yuppie dad with me in between the two of them, all I could think of was being at home with my wife and kids.


When I got home we cleaned up a bit, turned on the cool christmas music (Eels, John Lennon, Elvis, ect.) made hot chocolate and then put on a fire in the fireplace. We were going to follow that with a family viewing of A Charlie Brown Christmas but Natasha had to go next door for one reason or another, so it was just me and the girls. Emerald, Isabela and I sat down in front of a nice warm fireplace and didn't say a damn thing. We just sat there and held each other and told each other how much we were in love and just relaxed and felt the warmth. The only sounds were the crackling of the fire and Sinatra saying he's dreaming of a white christmas. It was peaceful and relaxing and all the stress and depression and anger and doubt that built up in me since November just melted away and disappeared. It was just me and my darling daughters feeling the utter joy and peace that is Christmas, actual honest to god Christmas. And it felt amazing.


Now I'm alone in this dirty ass house taking care of my two crazy girls while Natasha spends two days in San Francisco with her friend. I feel sad and lonely and depressed and paranoid all to fuck. I don't know how to feel or how to act. I'm trying to focus on the kids and play with them and have fun with them but my mind wanders. I can't stay still. I'm worried that I'm losing everything and that everything I've worked so hard trying to build could all just fall in one second.




I'm trying to focus on the fire, on that fleeting feeling of perfect bliss and warmth. It felt nice. It felt normal. It felt Norman fucking Rockwell. I'm trying so goddamn hard to think about the fire and wishing I could somehow be there again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd ...

This is not a review. I don't think I can write a proper review of this movie. First off, my professional journalism days are long gone and GOOD RIDDANCE. Secondly, I am an incredibly biased reviewer. I don't show off my theater geek side too much anymore (if you don't include a strange, intricately detailed superhero mythology in my kids section) but I was a fairly well known local actor back in my day and for about 11 years Sweeney Todd has been high on my own personal list of dream plays. I've seen it, I know it, and certain songs I can easily sing along to. When our space baby was sick in a bubble at the Nick-You I held her hand, leaned close to her air bubble, and sang The Beatles. When I finished all their sad songs, I instantly went to the song Not While I'm Around which chokes me up every time I hear it. All that being said, I don't think that I'm able to just up and type out an unbiased Joe Sixpack review of the movie I saw last night.


But what I CAN do is compare and contrast the broadway play and the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton version. There are amazing similarities and few differences and yet the differences are big differences. Going into the film, the main thing I was worried about was how well two untrained actors would do singing two of the most challenging roles in musical theater. I love Helena Bonham Carter but the role of Mrs Lovett is a difficult one and Angela Lansbury owned that role. I was frightened. I was also frightened of Johnny Depp and his ability to truly get INTO a singing role. That might be a sin for me to say. I know he's an amazing actor and a legally canonized saint but every Sweeney Todd I had ever seen had a man with an amazingly loud voice that can really belt out the pain and frustration and anger, especially the anger.


George Hearn is the man!




I can't say that Johnny Depp's Sweeney is better than any of the broadway Sweeney's that have been out there. Depp is an actor going down an actor's road here. He's not going down the belt-it-out theater road. He's less loud and more dark and moody. He uses silence and frightening brooding in places where others have used their lungs and therefore his take on this character seems fresh and new. Songwise there's nothing to worry about. His voice is great and there are parts that garner big chills from his voice and his eyes. His best singing moments are hands down the two songs he shares with Alan Rickman who plays Judge Turpin. Rickman is the only actor in this whole film who I can say without a shadow of a doubt shines leaps and bounds over any previous actors who have filled Turpin's shoes.




Helena Bonham Carter is equally dark and brooding as Mrs. Lovett. She uses her acting skills and the camera to close in on emotions you can't see on a stage. Angela Lansbury was funny and had an amazing pair of lungs on her. She's one of the best singers of the stage. Of course Helena Bonham Carter (Do I have to say her full name EVERY TIME I mention her? It feels strange calling her just Carter. Who is she, an E.R. doctor whose departure ruined the show?) can't be compared to Landsbury voice-wise. But acting-wise, Carter (the woman, not the E.R. doctor) is a million times better. You really get the feeling that she loves Toby. But it's not all acting. She gets some amazing laughs. And the chemistry between her and Depp is amazing.




Tim Burton is the absolute perfect person to make this movie. He has always had a penchant for filling scenes with dark sets and dark lighting and dark mood. His filmmaking style is a perfect fit for such a meaty script. It's visually stunning. The opening scene, the use of black and blood, the squalor and dirt, it's all amazing and lush. And he pulls a few fast ones with the story without straying from the plot. And blood. OH MY GAWD there's blood. There's so much blood. You will NOT be prepared for the amount of blood and gore that they show in this film, even if you've seen the play a million times. The crunch of the bodies as they hit the floor, that hideous sound ALONE should win an oscar. It's graphic. You're lulled into this amazing musical and the acting is great and the cinematography is incredible. Then when the first person eats it and the blood doesn't stop, it's shocking. It's incredibly shocking. i loved it but its not for everyone. Laini was just disgusted and hiding behind her hands thru half of the movie and she took off WIT A QUICKNESS once it ended. Megan and her really nice and friendly and funny and big tittied friend hid behind their hands, too, but not as much as Laini did. It's definitely not for the squeamish.


Another thing that is definitely worth mentioning is Tim Buton's vision of Mrs. Lovett's song By The Sea. Burton has now set the bar for all future versions of the play with that song. The way he temporarily puts such bleak characters in such a bright and lush environment he has undone himself. It is the best scene in the whole movie. I haven't laughed that loud in a theater in a long time.




I could go on and on but I'm going to stop. It was refreshing to see an actual CHILD play the CHILD role of Toby. And his voice? Absolutely beautiful! Okay. NOW I'll stop.


Thanks for reading my wack-ass review. Here's some music from the soundtrack. Grab it before the studio makes me stop ...


Johnna

Pretty Women

Epiphany


And here's a song from the original broadway cast that was sadly absent from the movie ...


The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (opening number)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sweeney Tonite ...



Work has been hell. Crazy customers, people in a hurry, a lot of rich upper-class yuppie people who are afraiiiid of buying any toys from China for their sons Shane and Clint. Then there's the dirtiest people ever, lots of stinky people and slack-jawed yokels and toothless rednecks and a few drunk dads and a few total nutjobs. I had a nasty mom and daughter combo yesterday looking for books on spirits "cuz my daughter gots a spirit inner house that throws candles atter and we want that OUT!" That was yesterday and that was a MONDAY! I know today is going to be even worse.


But all I know is that after work I'm getting in to a free screening of Tim Burton's SWEENEY TODD, one of my FAVORITE musicals of ALL TIME and it's being done by the director and actor who brought my savior Eddie Wood to the big screen!


This is going to be awesome!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Steve's Secret ...

... it is 2:43 am and I am currently drinking either beer 6 or 7 of the night. Or maybe 8. I'm not so sure. I do know that it's 2:44 am and that at 2:00 am every weekday they show a rerun of one of my favorite shows Reno 911 on channel 31, so there's an awesome tip for those of you who are insomniacs.


Okay. On fifth glance, the beer I just opened up may very well be either my 7th or 8th beer. either way I do not care, I have so much going on in my life that I don't care less how many beers I drink. Okay. So here's the thing ... since November 4th, I've been carrying a secret that has been burning my insides. It's so heavy and so painful and so personal that I can't just waltz to work and share it with you. I want to share my life with you. I want you to know who I am. But I can't just tell you. I can't. We have to go out. We have to be alone. Maybe with beer. This secret I'm hiding, it's way too big for one person. I want you to know and I want to tell you. I really do. But it's big. It's very big.


I'm looking to tell people my secret. I want to share this with people. Just let me know that you want to know and I'll tell you. I want to feel better and this is the first step.



Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pictures From Emerald's 6th Birthday Party ...

Emerald and Julia playing games at the Apple store while Natasha tries to get her iPod fixed ...




Em checking out the Build-A-Bear before the party...




The party starting, the kids put their pre-stuffed bears on their heads ...







Emerald with her stuffed animal ...




Bela stuffing her doll ...




Washing the animals ...




The cousins ...




The whole gang at the end ...




Afterwards, playing Rock Paper Scissors at McDonalds ...




The stupid chick that somehow got her car stuck at the drive-thru at McDonalds, probably because she was smoking and petting her dog and talking on the phone AND driving (she's sitting on the curb smoking in the background) ...




Afterwards, at my work, I had a special Emerald storytime. I let her pick out the first two books and I even let her READ one of the stories on MY storytime seat in front of the 50 or so people who were there. She read her favorite book, It's Hard To Be Five by Jamie Lee Curtis and she did an amazing job ...






Great party. Great day. I can't believe she's almost six years old. It seems like only yesterday she was two years old answering the phone and talking to mommy while I was in the shower and now she's on the honor roll at school and looking beautiful. Life moves by so fast. It's incredible.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Four Storytimes In One Week/Steve Is Awesome ...



... ours is a fickle USB port. Occasionally, a few hours a day, the mouse will work just fine as long as you're okay with interrupting your typing every twenty seconds with some serious cord giggling. My iPod hasn't been updating and I'm 98% certain that it's because of the USB port and not my crappy iPod. But I have a really good group of songs on there and I'm okay with having that frozen in time. Besides, I can't really download songs with my mouse not working anyway.


I've done three storytimes so far this week. I did a really good Todd Parr storytime on tuesday. I like Todd Parr stories because they're simple and easy and I get to mercilessly make fun of them. It's an easy storytime and I get to kinda kick back and just rip on the stories and talk with the kids and have fun. And almost all the moms were new moms who were really cracking up at my brand of storytelling.


Then tuesday night we went to the big two story Elk Grove California Family Fitness for storytime. I was really nervous because this is Elk Grove, the Scottsdale of Sacramento and I know from experience going to that gym that there are some serious businessmen and yuppies and strippers and hardcore upper class white folks. But things went swimmingly. I cranked up the energy since this was a gym, MY gym, and so I was running all over the stage and really making the kids jump and move and work. The employees, the same pimply faces teenagers we regularly leave our kids with, seemed really impressed that the funny looking mexican dad was such an ass-kicker.


Afterwards one of the kids slapped the shit out of me. Literally fucking walloped me. But that's a totally different post.


Wednesday morning on my day off I hyped a bookfair our store is doing for the Southpointe Christian Academy by doing a special religious storytime in front of the whole school. I was so incredibly nervous I was hyperventilating and almost shaking. It's nerve racking enough doing storytime in front of a whole school, let alone reading a religious jesus book in a crazy Steve way in front of a christian private school. But I did great and I was somehow able to be crazy and silly and loud and stupid and STILL read a book about Jesus and the bible. And then at the end they all prayed for me. HELLS YEAH! I got ups with da lawd!


So if you include my storytime on wednesday as work AND if you include the storytime I'll be doing this saturday on my day off for Emerald's birthday ... then I'm working ten days in a row and doing four storytimes in a single week.


Yeah. I'm awesome.

Monday, December 3, 2007

My Only Semi-Pathetic Return To The Gym ...

... so I got a free year long gym membership for me and my kids (including Deinna) and for a while there we were going four to six times a week EVERY week. That's a lot of working out for a skinny brown man like me and I probably overdid it, hence the fractured ribs and massive chest damage of a month and a half ago. So suddenly we went from four to six times a week to no times a week and that stunk. My body used to feel better. Now my entire body is always sore and I'm having a ton of nosebleeds and now my personal life is in the crapper and it somehow represents the way my body's been feeling.


Yesterday we went back, the first time in a long time. We had wanted to go back to our gym before I do my big storytime there tomorrow. So we went. I stretched more than my usual none. I had my workout playlist going on my iPod. I was totally ready to get my gym back on. But my body wouldn't let me overdue it. I barely worked out and my whole body was sweating like a pig. My legs were wobbly the whole day and I just covered it up and tried to pretend like I wasn't in pain. I was ashamed of myself and ashamed of my body. I used to be a contender. Now my body sucks.


We went back tonight. I got better, only a little bit. Slow going for me but I swear to god I'm going to get my goddamn life back!