Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pedal for Peace 2010 - Will you help us change the world?

Friends, I need your help.

You might recall that last year, I rode in the inaugural Pedal for Peace event at Major Taylor Velodrome. I've volunteered again and will be riding with six or seven other folks, rain or shine, in the event again this year.

On Saturday, October 2, a couple hundred cyclists on about 30 teams will take turns riding in the six-hour relay event to raise money to promote peace worldwide, especially through the education of women and children. Last year, the funds went to support Mar Elias, an interfaith school in the Holy Land. This year, the funds raised will support two worthy organizations:
  1. AWAKEN (Afghan Women And Kids Education & Necessities), a Muncie-based initiative to educate women and children in Afghanistan, and
  2. Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute, which builds schools and provides other educational support in Afghanistan and the surrounding countries.
I'll be riding with Team RPM (Random Pedal-ers on a Mission) -- each team is tasked with raising a certain amount of money toward the effort. Will you please consider a tax-deductible donation to support our team as we support peace in the world?

Your gift of $50, $25, or $10 will really make a difference -- YOU can create educational opportunities for women and children! Donate online or, if you would like to mail a check, make it payable to St. Luke's UMC and put "Pedal for Peace/RPM" in the memo line and mail it to:
Pedal for Peace
c/o St. Luke's UMC
100 W. 86th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Thank you so much for your support!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Willow Smith whips her hair. (Or something?)

Do you know how many things I understand about this? None. I literally understand none-point-none things about this. But apparently it is a thing, so there you have it.

I think the Scientologists need to seriously re-evaluate their approach to evangelism. Though I don't get it, this song is catchy as hell.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Name That Guy" is comedy magic.

Via Best Week Ever, I share with you Jimmy Fallon's new game that's sweeping the nation: "NAME THAT GUY!" Parts 1 & 2 are in the videos below, but for my comedy dollar, you just need the second half of Part 1, when the awesome old lady brings the funny.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Come for the Melissa and Joey fanfiction, stay for the whatnow?


It has become clear to me, dear readers, that while neither of you may have much interest in ABCFamily's breakout summer sitcom "Melissa & Joey," the interwebz are, in fact, abuzz about it. In fact, in just over a week, no fewer than a dozen Google users have found themselves here seeking out "Melissa and Joey" fanfiction (as a result of my joke about it in a previous post). Which is remarkable in that my only other post that rivals that, Googlability-wise, is this 2006 post entitled Worst. Lifetime Movie. Ever.

I'm intrigued by this recent turn of events, mostly because I am so clearly out of the target demographic for "Melissa and Joey" as evidenced by my answer of "Gimme A Break" in the poll on the official show page -- which only garnered 3% of the vote...probably because most of the "M&J" viewers weren't alive when Nell (about whom I previously blogged here -- and that's worth a click at least for the Nell Carter version of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" theme) adopted little moppet Joey and his little moppet of a brother, Matthew. (I think?)

Anyway. I have no understanding of why I'm so drawn to the situationally comedic comedy situations Mel and Joe find themselves in, and yet there it is.

It occurs to me, also, that I have no idea why people read this blog. Mostly, I think visitors to this blog fall into one of the following categories:
  1. Family, friends, acquaintances
  3. Random Googlers

So tell me: Whether you fall into category 1, 2, or 3, why do you stop by or not stop by here? What can I, your occasionally faithful blog host, do to make your stay more comfortable? Can I blog about anything specific? Do more of a certain type of post? Games like Song! Challenge! or Pop Culture Math? Snarky essays? Gettin' Goddy wit' it? The liveblogs, my God, the liveblogs? Videos of me dancing? (Somebody earlier tonight requested a Hammer Dance video...I'll see what I can do.)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to leave a comment and let me know which of the above, if any, keep you coming back, and what you'd like to see more of. The overenthusiastic survey-taker at right is eagerly awaiting your comments. She will transcribe them verbatim and then provide them to me in an easy-to-read (that is, picture-heavy) report, which I will place in white 1" binder and never read again. (Just kidding -- that's a random image I found by Googling "survey taker" -- *I* am eagerly awaiting your responses...she's just a sight gag.) (I was serious about the 1" binder, though.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Then and Now: Who's On First

"Who's On First?" will make me laugh every time. Comedy genius, I tells ya.

Here's the classic Abbott & Costello clip:

And here's what happens when Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy Modern Typography:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Twelve Random Things

It's been a while since one of those random "25 Things" things came around on Facebook. Because I'd like to keep the blog in action now, I'm going to resurrect that ol' chestnut and see how many random things I can share right now:

  1. I tangoed with a blanket tonight. You'll want to join us on 10/8 or 10/9 to see it in person.
  2. Speaking of My Blanket and Me, I'm developing greater confidence on stage as I have fun rehearsing for "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" and some other stuff.
  3. Speaking of performing, I'm seriously considering that recital idea (except with maybe some other song choices).
  4. This, while completely inappropriate and not safe for work, is hilarious to me. Especially the Angela Lansbury part.
  5. I recently addressed the piles of stuff I'd accumulated before my move at the end of last year. Sadly, I mostly addressed them by boxing them up into fresh new banker's boxes, rather than actually, say, filing them. To the storage unit!
  6. I'll be riding again this year in the Pedal For Peace event on October 2. Want to support peace through education for girls and women around the world? Make a donation here and enter either my name (Scott Semester) or our team name (RPM: Random Pedal-ers on a Mission) when you make your donation. And thanks!
  7. I'm working my way through this resource, which may or may not be available to you at this time.
  8. Today at church, our pastor challenged us to read one chapter of the Gospels each day; if we do that, we'll have all the Gospels read by Christmas. I'm going to do this. I figure if I can give up caffeine for Lent, I can read the Bible for pre-Advent.
  9. Speaking of church, oy.
  10. The Google search phrase melissa and joey fanfiction has (somewhat explicably, but come on) led 6 people to this blog in the last week.
  11. I am currently watching a "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" that I've never seen before.
  12. I want to go to Finland to vacation in an "Icebergs" home by Daniel Andersson. And then I want to find a body of water in central Indiana and build one for myself.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Just the way it is

"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing that is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love."

~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Melissa & Joey: Waving Bye-Bye To My TV-Viewing Cred

I used to be on the cutting edge of televisual pop culture. I would know what was happening on all the shows, which new shows were coming out, and what the hits and misses would be when each fall season rolled around.

But no more.

This development is rooted in last year's digital switchover whatevermafloppy thing, when I decided to go sans TV. I subsisted on Hulu and the kindness of DVD-loaning strangers for filling my headholes with bright, shiny images. And I grew out of the tv-watching habit.

In fact, it's gotten so bad that now I look forward to viewing shows such as "Melissa & Joey." Intellectually, I am aware this show is an affront to my intelligence, to gender roles and interpersonal relationships, to dignity and honor and the American Way™. And yet, I cannot stop watching it. Here's an episode -- you know, in case you've got 22 minutes to kill and some brain cells to spare.

It all started when I watched -- in its entirety -- My Fake Fiancé, another blow to feminism and intelligentertainment that ABCFamily delivered earlier this year. In that there's-a-reason-it-went-straight-to-cable movie, Melissa Joan Hart and Joe ("Joe"? "Joey"? I've lost track...) Lawrence play single people who meet at a friend's wedding and stage their own fake wedding to get cash and prizes. Of course, they end up falling in love and living happily, albeit snarkily, ever after.* (And if you needed me to label that with a SPOILER ALERT, you are exactly the type of person that movie and its spawn, this show, are targeted toward.)

Apparently, America just couldn't get enough of the will-they-or-won't-they** chemistry between MeJoHa and JoeLaw. And therefore, here we are: Melissa and Joe(y), playing "Melissa & Joey," which, I'm pretty sure, are the same characters they played in My Fake Fiancé, just with slightly less dimension.

To the will-they-or-won't-they, the producers have added an Awwwww! factor with two adorable teen moppets whom Melissa has taken in, after her sister (their mother) something something. It just so happens that at the same time Melissa inherits the teens, Joe(y) needs a job because of what Melissa (or perhaps her sister?) did, and so naturally, he becomes the nanny. You know, as you do.

Toss in an inexplicably humorless, inexplicably Asian*** executive assistant and numerous one night stands for both Melissa and Joe(y), and you've got a non-stop, madcap romp through today's America.

I should hate it. It should make me vomit just on principle.

And yet... And yet.

I look forward to when the new episodes come out on Hulu. I look forward to catching it when I flip past ABCFamily. I've written three spec episodes in addition to copious fanfic which honors the continuity of the "Melissa-and-Joey"-verse. Let's just say it has become my favorite new show of late. I mean, it can't compete with USANetwork's "Psych" or "White Collar" but it will draw me away from "Royal Pains" and even "Covert Affairs."

So, there it is. Now you know.

My name is Scott, and I watch "Melissa & Joey."

* I call dibs on "Snarkily Ever After" as the title of my autobiography.

** "Will they or won't they sleep together?" "Will they or won't they punch each other in the face, hard, like we so desperately want them to?" "Will they or won't they partake in an elaborate murder/suicide pact designed to frame Mayim Bialik?" (Which is TOTALLY a made-for-tv movie I would watch.)

*** Which is to say, every Asian person I've ever met**** is smarter than Melissa Joan Hart's character and there's no way "Rhonda Cheng" would have to put up with MeJoHa's shenanigans.

**** Which is to say, this man cheering on Howard at the 2008 Summer Olympics:

Saturday, September 04, 2010

You're A (Mostly) Good Man, Scott S. Semester


So, long time, no blog, right? Sorry about that. I've gotten all introspective and, instead of gettin' bloggy with it, I've kept it mostly inside -- except, of course, for the incessant tweeting...my God, the TWEETING!

Anyway, a number of things have happened recently. Let's get brought up to speed, shall we? (You: Oh, yes! Indubitably! May we?!) (Me: Enough. Please to be shutting up and reading quietly to yourself while keeping the mocking to a minimum.)

Thing the First: Master Thespian
Remember this and this? Well, it's happened again, only this time, it's by choice, and not out of a sense of guilt and/or obligation and/or duty!

On October 8 and 9, I will be playing the role of Linus in Northwood Christian Church's star-(except for me)-studded production of the musical, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. Linus has a nice solo in the first act which may or may not involve dancing...you'll just have to come to the show to see it. Tickets are free, with a $10 suggested donation.


Things the Second: Phoning It In

I got a new smartphone -- a Palm Pre Plus! (exclamation mark mine, but the Plus is theirs; I'm not sure what's so "Plus" about it, but there it is). I like that I can now do the e-mail and the Twitter and the Facebook without having to be at a computer, especially since the office computer died and was only mostly resuscitated. (Fun Fact: I just spelled "resuscitated" correctly on the first try.)

Anyway. The phone. Thanks to the good folks at ubergizmo.com (whatever that is), it's pictured at right in snapped-shut and snapped-open positions, respectively. And it is awesome. I haven't even explored all the apps that you can get for it, but I downloaded a couple of games and whatnot and am really enjoying it.


Thing the Third: Take Off, Eh?
I took some time off from church this summer, and it was great, for a number of reasons.

It was good to sleep in on a few Sundays, instead of always being up and at them first thing in the morning. I also had the opportunity to attend worship elsewhere, which was nice. But I think the biggest step for me was making the commitment to establish better boundaries about my role as a volunteer and how much time/energy I was willing to dedicate to it.

I did decide to spend some time working with the art gallery at the church. We had a show in August and two of my pieces were on display -- one of them, featuring that one scripture passage (subversive!), is there at the right. Click to embiggen and see the pretty flowers from the Daylily Labyrinth at St. Luke's.

I think I'm still working to discern how I can use all my gifts in service of God and others, but taking July and August off from The Luke was a helpful step in that process.


Things the Fourth through the Fifteenth
Here's a quickfire rundown of the rest of the stuff that's up with me:
  • I went to a couple local-food things last weekend and got really pumped about learning how to grow my own food. Mostly because it all tasted really good and fresh, but also because of that nagging voice in the back of my head saying that gardening/farming needs to be part of Plan A to Z.
  • I read this great article: Is Your Longing Preventing You From Actualizing Your Dreams? (Mine might be.)
  • A woman yelled at me for driving too fast in my neighborhood. (I was not.)
  • A woman yelled at me for biking in a not-visible-enough shirt. (My shirt was bright green; her sunglasses and medical marijuana clouds had simply gotten in the way.)
  • A woman yelled at me -- and pounded on my car with her fist -- because she lost control of her child who darted out in front of me in a parking lot.* (I was driving at a reasonable rate of speed and I braked in plenty of time to avoid her child.)
  • I decided not to take any crap from random women yelling at me unjustifiably and, starting with that last one, realized that any adult language that might escape from my mouth in the presence of her children was more embarrassing to her than to me. Therefore, strange women yelling at me, you are warned: You get to decide if it's more important to yell at me or to keep your children from the first class session of Swearing Like A Sailor 101.
  • My mom's Aunt Flossie recorded herself playing some church music several years ago. We turned it into a CD because Flossie wanted her own music for her funeral. (When you're about to turn 99, these are the things you think about, one imagines.) Here's "Because He Lives" by my Great Aunt Flossie:

  • In other music news, I (re?)discovered Sister Hazel, the band. Did you know you can get 20 of their songs for free on Amazon MP3 download?
  • I learned the meaning of "You can do it, Duffy Moon!" and took it to heart. (Well, most days, I'm taking it to heart.)
  • Ditto, the Manifesto of Encouragement.
  • I volunteered at the Best Buddies International conference down at IU. My experience as a volunteer fell under the "If you can't blog anything nice, don't blog anything at all" category, but the conference was a great opportunity for the participants, and Best Buddies is a terrific organization, which you should support.
  • I figured out all the things that happened to me lately by reading my Facebook status updates. Are we friends? If not, we should be!

* And my safe-driving-in-parking-lots vigilance is, by now, fairly legendary. You have to know that Me Driving By was about the safest scenario for when her kid darted out. The only thing that would have been safer was a No Car For Miles situation, which you're just not going to get at 8:45 on a Friday morning.