Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yes, You Heard Me, My Cousin Chris Farley

I was using "cousin" in a very loose (I almost said "relative" but thought that might be too much of a pun) sense. You see, my mother's sister Nora is married to Chris Farley's actual familial first cousin. Thus, though not by blood and many times removed, Chris Farley was indeed my cousin.

There are cultures that value family so much, that even if you're four times removed from both sides of the family and once removed from society at large, family is family, and family deserves respect, affection, and recognition. And no, family is not a one way street, and no, Chris Farley never actually got around to respecting/recognizing me as a member of his (far-removed) extended family, but I am confident that he would have gotten around to it at some point in the future if his future had not been so unexpectedly and unfortunately taken away from him. I like to think that Chris Farley would have liked the idea of having somebody like me claiming to be related to him.

So, to those few who have suggested that I am out of line with my particular portrait of my family tree, I say this: I am aware of just how far removed Chris Farley and I were from each other. But, I feel like I know him better than I know some of my more geographically (and mentally) distant cousins to whom I am actually blood-related (sadly). Or, to make a better point...I am often told that I share much in common with my great-grandfather, whom I never met and thus have nothing but family stories told through the ever-thickening haze of history, while I have documented (and often re-run on Comedy Central) footage of Cousin Chris (as I fondly refer to him). Should I just leave my great-grandfather out of my family tree because he is just a handful of obscure stories? Of course not!

So, why would I leave Cousin Chris out?

Music to Blog By:
Red Right Hand - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

SNL's Golden Age...Remember That?

Of course, the first few seasons are out of reach. The cast, the writers...everything they were doing was fresh. They were inventing a genre which has yet to be truly rivaled. It enjoyed a great run through the 80's, and a cast in the early nineties (including Dana Carvey, Mike Meyers, my cousin Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, and Kevin Nealon to name a few) that came a close second to the legendary early cast members. But nowadays...

The problem isn't with the cast, so much as it is with the writers. Being a creative writing major, I can't really criticize too much I suppose, but...comedy writers learn what works in sitcoms and dramas and movies, and so they write what works. They don't invent. They're not on the cutting edge, because the cutting edge doesn't pay the bills.

You see that a lot these days. I'll go ahead and be a total dork and play into the hands of everybody who knows where I'm going with this...

Take, for example, a television show like Arrested Development. For anybody who hasn't seen it that is too bad. If you have seen The Office, and you enjoy it, well...that's too bad. NBC is in a great position these days when it comes to their weeknight programming. As NBC is near the bottom as far as ratings go, they're less afraid to give something new a chance. The Office, Studio 60, My Name is Earl, Scrubs, and Heroes are all shows that a network like ABC or CBS may have considered but passed on, or given a small chance but given up before it really caught. Fox is great at giving a chance to something new, but bad at retention. Arrested Development...think The Office but with a narrator and about a disfunctional family instead of just an office. Great writers on both shows, but Fox killed AD after two and a half seasons.

A show like SNL endurs because it has a legendary past. It can get away with being sub-par because viewers still cling to the glory days...but not forever. It needs to get better soon, or it will start losing viewers. How can it get better? Get better writers. I'm not saying they need to hire writers off the street, but they have got to hire some writers who aren't afraid to think. Right now, even if the skits begin well, they drag on and end abruptly, as if the writers realized it's a sketch show and they've got to keep it under a certain amount, and the people in charge say, "Well, if it's all we've got..." It's just bad comedy to lose your audience halfway through a sketch. Make it punchy. Bring back the slapstick of Belushi and Chase. The ridiculous dialogue of Wayne and Garth. SOMETHING!

It's sad to think that the world writers my age are entering is one in which you have to prepackage your work...suddenly, you shouldn't write manuscripts, but McManuscripts. Everything is homogenized, sterilized, and easily consumable. The George Lopez show is King of Queens for the Latino market. Break out. Do something different.

On a side note, I completed my play for the one act festival, printed it out, took it to the office to turn it in...and nobody was there to take it. The door was locked. So...it didn't get turned in. So what the hell am I supposed to do now? The student in charge of Surfacing hasn't answered me. My friend Kathleen, who is affiliated with the contest, suggested that the deadline may have been extended to Wednesday, but I haven't received confirmation. CRAP!

Music to blog by:
Miss Murder (with bad sound mixing) - AFI
(because I was watching SNL and they were the guest, silly)

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Year in Review, and Resolutions

Well, 2006 was an interesting year. Work: I started out shaky at work, getting pulled into the office and being put on counseling, then turning things around to the point that I was Great Team Hero for the entire group (which happened in July but didn't get into the magazine until November), only to end the year pissed off and stepping down from my position because of school schedule conflicts. I went through three team leads and two ETLs, made some new friends (some of which promptly left...Natascha I'm looking in your direction...), said goodbye to many people who took off for bigger and better things including Jerry, Colleen and Beth, and decided that listening to your employee's concerns and actually doing something to address them are a lot farther apart than some people think.

As far as cycling goes...well, let's not talk about that. Check out my Cycling Blog for more info on that...

2006 was a productive year for my writing. I have a nice stack of work, including my one-act that I completed prior to Christmas. I'm not done editing it, but I am counting that amongst last year's output. Though I was happy with having written outside of my Colin/William/James group in 2005 with "Momentum," and then again this year with two stories in that same timeline called "Kissing Girls" and "Look at How Ugly the Stars Are," I did start writing a story that connects Colin, William and James with Banning and Cameron. School certainly helped with the output, and so...

School is awesome. Yes, I could have done better this past semester with being on top of deadlines and such, but nonetheless I am happy at Webster University. Good times had by me. At school. But let's not forget that I started the year still enrolled at Meramec, which I hated my first semester as friends will recall. But with the summer 2005 session, I found a teacher I really enjoyed. And then I made friends fall 2005 (including a great writing instructor), and in the spring 2006 semester I made some friends that, though I haven't seen or even communicated with them for months, I will always remember them and count them as my peers and great friends.

All in all, a good enough year to forget for the most part.

And so to resolutions for 2007.

Write more.
Ride more.
Stress less.
Love more.
Save more.
Enjoy more.
Live more.
Drive less.
Workout more.
Spend more [time with friends and family].
Reconnect with life.
Dance with my wife more.
Watch more Star Trek.
Smile more.
Laugh more.
Be the best Elliot M. Rauscher I can be.
Try to walk in my mother's vibrating slippers.

And I just did two of those. Let's see who can guess which two!

Music to blog by:
Frank Sinatra - As Time Goes By

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