Philip Seymour Hoffman

I wanted this to be a tweet, but it was too long. I wanted this to be a facebook post, but it was too casual.

Truthfully, this probably doesn’t deserve to be written at all. But that’s not the world we live in.

Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away today, by as yet undisclosed (but almost certainly unnatural) means.

 

No stupid tweet can effectively eulogize a human being…that said, Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of my favorite actors and I will miss his talent. We live in a broken world where good people, talented people, die just the same as bad people do. Where well-known people pass away just the same as many thousands of other, lesser-known people will today. So while I encourage your expression of social media sympathy, I implore you to pair it with action. Tell a loved one that they’re loved. And if you struggle with addiction of any sort (not all drugs come in needle/pill/smokable/tangible form), please seek help. Don’t let the complexity and wonder and depth and breadth of your entire earthly existence be reduced to a handful of sympathetic tweets and facebook posts — no matter how sincere or well intentioned they may be. You are better than your shortcomings, you are bigger than your fear, you are stronger than you were. Stay alive.

-dh

 

“Success isn’t what makes you happy. It really isn’t. Success is doing what makes you happy and doing good work and hopefully having a fruitful life. If I’ve felt like I’ve done good work, that makes me happy. The success part of it is all gravy.” —Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Open Letter to Sinead O’Connor’s Open Letter to Miley Cyrus

Sinead,

First of all, know that I’m saying this with a motherly love, and that however biting the sarcasm/satire might get in the next few paragraphs, I genuinely do not wish you any negativity or duress.

Much and more has been made of the open letter that you recently wrote to Miley Cyrus, advising her on her twerking, her increasingly weird public persona, her perceived exploitation at the hands of the music/media industries, and her overall downward spiral from sanity.

“Much and more” is an expression I stole from the Game of Thrones series of books, I started using it as a subtle way to find out if people have read them. Like a verbal secret handshake. If you don’t get the reference, that’s okay, it just means you haven’t spent thousands of pages reading overly detailed descriptions of surcoats and morning meals.

Sinead (for some reason I always read that for a nanosecond as Sinbad, which, not as a diss to you, would be significantly cooler in terms of name badassery. Sinbad makes me think of a garish pirate adventurer and scoundrel, Sinead makes me think of those animal commercials where they do slow zooms on cute puppy pics and play sad music until you promise to adopt an entire wagon of dogs), in true glutton-for-punishment form, you couldn’t be happy with one open letter, so after Miley blew off your original writing with a couple snarky tweets, you wrote her THREE MORE sort of half-sane, increasingly defensive open letters and now the media is calling it a “feud” and Miley’s legions of disciples are dousing you with barrels full of haterade like you’re a coach that just won the Super Bowl. You feel hurt, attacked, betrayed…and you were only trying to help! Woe is you! …Well, not exactly.

You see, Sinead, it’s not that people hate you, it’s not that people love you. It’s that people don’t care about you. I don’t mean that in a mean way, like that nobody cares about you or that you don’t have value enough to be worth caring about, I mean People, the masses of asses (I just came up with that but you can use it if you want), generally do not have a stake or an interest in you or your life. Does that sound harsh? Well it may be, in light of what you’re used to, but keep in mind that for the 99.9999% of us in the world that aren’t world famous singers, that’s pretty much the norm. We don’t care about ourselves. We don’t care about you. I don’t care about you (or Miley for that matter). And that’s okay.

Sinead, I know exactly two facts about you: 1) you tore a picture of the Pope in half on SNL in the 90s, which was pretty controversial back before the FCC said “f*** it” and decided to allow shit, the F word, and nudity on television, and 2) you’re Irish. And to be honest I’m not even 100% sure about that second one, I just know (think?) you’re not American and your name is Sinead O’Connor, so call it a high-probability guess (read: racist stereotype). And that’s all right, because you don’t need my love, opinion, or approval to continue to be a functioning human being, a good mother, and whatever else you’re in to. You don’t need to engage in a one-way PR rivalry with a pop product whose entire existence can be traced back to a line dancing country song for your own validity. It’s nice that you wanted to help, and I don’t know you so I won’t imply that there was any ulterior motive of using someone else’s hype as a way to get a little attention for yourself (though that would certainly be the case if it were me in your shoes…in fact this very blog is meant to at least partly cash in on some of that attention floating around), but that’s the bitch of advising: it’s up to the advisee to decide if they actually want to follow your advice or not. And if you’re surprised that Miley retorted in a childish, unintelligent, and mean sort of way, well then that’s on you for not doing any research on your subject. I mean, this is a girl whose entire public relations strategy can essentially be summed up with:

;-P

…does that strike you as the sort of person looking to take thoughtful counsel from her elders, no matter how well intentioned or well known?

So hey, you took your best shot at helping someone you felt was in need, you gave us some classic Sinead anti-establishment zingers, and you got media attention without having to rip up any 8×10 glossies of the blessed father (do Catholics call him that or is that blasphemy?). Ideal outcome? No. But your fans still love and support you, you got your message out to a ton of little girls who are undoubtedly in need of more “your value isn’t a byproduct of how willing you are to undress and how good you look while undressing” than they get from the rest of society, and that’s got to count for something. And hey, it could be worse, you could be Eli Manning, who doesn’t have the pressures and exploitations of being a teen pop princess to use an excuse for his poor performance/breakdown. So there’s that. In the meantime, I hope you’re well and that this whole thing doesn’t ruin your morning meal of potato soup or make it any harder to keep the kids from getting your Lucky Charms. Buck up kid, you’re just an O, E, and Y away from being related to Sean Connery, and that’s pretty cool. (That’s how relations work, right? You’re automatically related to anyone with the same last name as you? My ancestry.com free trial expired before I could find out).

Play on,
Dustin

Why can't they kiss and make up like Miley kiss that sledgehammer?

Why can’t they kiss and make up like Miley kissed that sledgehammer?

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox. Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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Fall TV Pass/Fail (Part One)

A fact that sometimes surprises people when they hear it (myself included) is that I graduated an accredited, four-year private college with honors. I say that primarily to brag, but secondarily to let you know that often times I worked very hard in college in very difficult classes that stretched me mentally, academically, and sometimes physically (Ultimate Frisbee, spring quarter senior year…hey everybody should schedule a blowoff class their senior year). And while most of those classes demanded a lot of my attention and focus so I could keep my GPA at honors levels, my favorite classes were graded on what’s known as the pass/fail system.

If you’re unfamiliar with pass/fail classes and somehow also not able to grasp exactly what a pass/fail class is just by the name, it’s a class where instead of an A-to-F grading system, there are only two grades: you either pass, or fail. No in between. That brings me to fall television’s new schedule of shows (I’m not big on segues). We’re all busy, and our leisure time is almost as valuable as our productivity time, so rather than go through and grade every new TV show on some sort of A-F, five star, ten point, etc. scale, I’m going to break it down very simply for you into shows that either pass or fail (assuming of course that the “class” objective of each show is getting you to watch).

This guide is not exhaustive, it’s basically a handful of the new shows that looked interesting enough to me to DVR (I don’t watch anything live anymore that’s not sports), so if your favorite new show didn’t make the list of ones I’ve reviewed, I kind of don’t care. But still let me know in the comments because I’ll need something to fill the void in my life once Breaking Bad ends next week. Also, this list is pretty sitcom heavy because I like comedies and because like black people to Paula Deen, all dramatic hourlong serials look the same to me.

Let’s get started.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
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Andy Samberg’s first solo outing without SNL backup or his Lonely Island posse, the show’s premise is basically Reno 911 but in New York. I don’t know if a lot of you are  Samberg fans or not, but I like him, and I think his quirky brand of positive comedy is a welcome balance to darker comedies like Louie and It’s Always Sunny and cookie-cutter network fare like whatever is on CBS right now (you’ll note I included exactly zero CBS shows on this list because all CBS shows (particularly sitcoms) are absolute garbage (except The Crazy Ones). Am I generalizing? Yes. Are sweeping generalizations sometimes accurate? Also yes. Did I just use three sub-parentheses in this parenthesis? Triple yes). Two episodes in to B99, I laughed pretty consistently. Grade: PASS.

Dads.
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I’ll say it right now: I like Seth MacFarlane. I like Family Guy (even the new seasons), I liked Ted, I loved his hosting job at the Oscars (sorry, classy friends). I already like his new movie, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and it doesn’t even come out for another year. So yeah, I was biased toward this MacFarlane-created sitcom from the start. I wanted to like it, I really did. But, I didn’t. The jokes are hit-or-miss at best (leaning more toward the “miss” side), the leads aren’t that engaging or funny to me (not a Seth Green fan, never have been), and any modern-day tv show that still uses a laugh track already starts at a deficit in my book. The premise is okay, and I appreciate the postmodernist idea of kids having to support their folks at an increasingly younger age, but none of it felt that original or funny to me. Maybe it will get funnier after it’s cancelled and brought back a few years later, ala Family Guy. Grade: FAIL.

Agents of SHIELD (ain’t nobody got time to put all those periods between letters, so just know that it’s an acronym, ok?).
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Agent Phil Coulson’s Marvel/Avengers character and Clark Gregg’s acting career are both deservedly resurrected in this weekly sci-fi series that takes place in the same universe as IronMan, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor (though never close enough to get them any screen time). As someone who’s been looking for a replacement for Heroes ever since it went bad after the first few seasons, I’m excited for Agents mostly because it’s the exact same premise as Heroes was, just with a better producing team that (hopefully) learned from the sustainability mistakes of previous attempts at this sort of show (Alphas, The 4400, et al). One episode in I like, don’t love, it but if the Marvel world has taught us anything it’s that the payoff is pretty consistently worth the buildup, so I’m giving it a few more eps to convert me from cautious optimism to full on fangirl. Grade: PASS.

Sean Saves the World.
I’m going to save you the trouble of reading my summary of this show and just show you the promo poster instead and let you make your own extrapolations from there.
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Grade: FAIL.

Derek.
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Quickly becoming my favorite atheist (sorry Jamiroquai and Nick Caruso), Ricky Gervais’ latest offering is a show that displays deep understanding of and respect for the human soul (ironically from a man who doesn’t believe they exist). Like the UK version of The Office (if you haven’t seen it, ask your most pretentious friend for a summary, he/she will have), and his lesser-known (but far superior) show, Extras, Derek takes the ordinary (borderline pitiable) and spins it into something fascinating, extraordinary, heart-wrenching and heartwarming. All in 22 minutes. And as an added bonus, this one is a Netflix original, so there’s no killing time for an entire week between episodes. Grade: PASS.

The Goldbergs.
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What if there was a show just like The Wonder Years, but like, less naïve and more self-aware? Also, ‘80s references. That’s basically the premise for The Goldbergs, and if it sounds a little thin, that’s because it is. As an SNL sketch, I love it. As a television show that’s meant to last anywhere from five-to-eight seasons, I’m not on board. The pilot didn’t blow me away, and I don’t see it having a lot of room to grow from there. But if I don’t like it, that probably means the general public will love it. Because that’s the purgatory I live in where 30 Rock and Party Down are off the air but Two and a Half Men is still around and Big Bang Theory just won a handful of Emmys. I can’t sigh exasperatedly enough to describe how I feel about that. Grade: FAIL.

Hello Ladies.
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Stephen Merchant is a name most of you won’t know, but he’s the creative Yin to Ricky Gervais’ Yang. Except if Yin and Yang were both equally funny in the same way instead of being opposites. Okay so maybe the analogy doesn’t hold up all that well, but for years Stephen Merchant has struck me as Gervais’ wildly underrated comedic equal, and now he’ll finally get the chance to prove me right that he’s been waiting for all these years. Hello Ladies is Merchant’s vehicle and blah blah blah some pun about a sports car and/or cruise control, just watch this show already. You will like it or your money back. Worth stealing your friend’s HBOgo login if you don’t already have one. Grade: PASS.

Well that’s all the grading the FCC will legally allow me to do this week (none of that is true), but check back next week (or whenever I get around to it) for my thoughts on the next wave of TV premieres. And in the meantime don’t forget that South Park, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, and New Girl have have all started back up if you’re looking for a comedic safety to fall into in case none of the new shows strike your fancy.

Play on,
Dustin

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox. Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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House of Heroes Undead Vlog

If you’re looking for relevant, fascinating, current, and well-shot video footage of the band House of Heroes…may I suggest looking elsewhere.

If, however, you are looking for shaky, distorted, outdated, boring footage of the band House of Heroes, then you hit the shaky, distorted, outdated, boring video footage jackpot!

It's not a literal house.

It’s not a literal house.

This week on the blog, come play along with me as I dig up some footage from my band touring days, complete with the first time I met and hung out with one of my now-best-chums, Josh Dun! (And don’t forget to check out Josh’s new band, Twenty One Pilots).

…Or go watch Breaking Bad on DVR. That’s probably what I would do in your position.

But if you’re still interested, here ya go:

Play on,
Dustin

PS Hank dies.

 

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox. Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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Just Keep Sharking

No lengthy and overly verbose intro today, so let’s just dive right into it.

Say what you will about sharks...because they can't understand English.

Say what you will about sharks…because they can’t understand English.

Shark week was last week and while I don’t have a lot of thoughts or feelings on that in particular, something I’m always reminded of when I think about sharks is that in order for sharks to live, they must literally always be moving. Ever forward. Up up, down down, left, right, left, right, B A, select, start — a shark cannot survive without constantly being in motion. As humans, this is probably the most important shark trait we could adopt (next to constantly growing new rows of teeth). I’m not the first to make this analogy, nor is it wildly profound, but it’s one of those things that’s important enough to restate from time to time.
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