Music, Shameless self indulgence

And so the solo year begins

Your Monkey is now officially on his own my friends. A small studio apartment in an unfamiliar town is where he now calls home. There is no one to talk to but himself, no one to clean up after but himself, and no one to blame for all of life’s ills but himself.

So far the bedroom portion of the apartment is looking like home, while the kitchen side still leaves a lot to be desired. There is a table (purchased on craigslist for $30) to assemble, dishes to put away, and plastic tubs filled with clothes that need to find a temporary home.

The apartment was empty and clean when your Monkey moved in, but several small nagging issues remain.

  • All three outlets on the outer wall of the building don’t have any juice in them
  • The outlet in the bathroom doesn’t have any juice, either
  • Someone is parking in your monkey’s assigned parking spot
  • Someone else (or is it the same nefarious individual) has filled up your Monkey’s basement storage space with their stuff
  • No mail is being delivered here yet!
  • Shower pressure and nozzle leave a lot to be desired

Stay tuned for more updates and complaints.

In the meantime, here is a song to tide you over. Even your grumpy monkey finds it hard to stay cranky when listening to the glorious soaring sounds of mumford & sons.

Shameless self indulgence, Uncategorized, Work, Writing

The Grumpiest Monkey 150th Post Anniversary Interview Spectacular Extravaganza

In which your Monkey once again shamelessly uses the concept of the self-interview, so effectively used by Dave Eggers in his book, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” so ineffectively used here.

Q. So, Monkey. You are 150 blog posts into this experiment. And it’s almost a year since you started.

A. Why, yes. That’s right. Thank you so much for noticing. Of course, my actual 1-year anniversary is later this month, so you can expect me to dig up this dead horse of the fake self-interview for that event as well.

Q. Surely by this point in your illustrious blogging career you don’t have to resort to self-interviews anymore..

A. One would think that journalists would be beating down the door to find out what makes this clockwork Monkey tick. Sure, there are lots of blogs and a boatload of bloggers out there. But how many are written by typewriting Monkeys? Just this blog and the Huffington Post, I think.

Q. OK, Monkey. Enough about you already. Let’s talk pop culture. What is your view on the Jersey Shore?

A. I think the people on the show are assholes, and the people who watch it are assholes. But the biggest assholes of all might be the faux hipsters who watch it and smugly feel superior for doing so. Everyone just go screw with that show and white tank tees and fake tans and Jersey Shore parties and the whole gay phenomenon.

Q. What about American Idol?

A. I’m so tired of seeing the same tired act played out over and over again. How many voice-breaking, note-mangling covers of Stevie Wonder songs can one nation take before anarchy breaks out? Not too many more, I would think.

Q. What else is bugging you lately?

A. I’m tied of people who seem to think that their status updates on Facebook are a suitable place to re-report the news. I don’t need you to tell me that Patriots wide reciever Wes Welker was injured or that the health care bill is in jeopardy. I’ll go to a news website for that. Stop glomming onto current events that have nothing to do with you in a sad attempt to make it seem like you lead a full life.

At least this Monkey is wiling to admit he lives an empty life.

Also, anyone who attempts to use the earthquake in Haiti to scam money or promote themselves should themselves experience an immediate and unpleasant demise.

Q. Well, this interview has certainly taken a turn for the grumpy. Maybe we should end things with a song to lighten the mood.

A. What a capital idea. Here is a snappy little song from a band called “The Love Language.”


The Grumpiest Monkey Goes to Ghost Town

Ghost Town (2008)
Directed by David Koepp
Starring Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, and Tea Leoni

Let’s face it: Ricky Gervais is one funny human being. The man has great comic timing, a natural ability to make a written line seem like a throwaway statement, and a mischievous grin that is always charming even when he’s playing a complete jerk.

Because of his supreme natural talent, Gervais is the main reason why Ghost Town is such an enjoyable movie to watch.

Ghost Town, for those who haven’t seen it, is the story of a cranky, humanity-hating dentist Bertram Pinkus (Gervais) who has a near-death experience during surgery and wakes up with the newfound ability to see ghosts.

The ghosts that Grevais sees aren’t gouls or spectres. In fact, there’s not one scary moment in the film. Instead, the ghosts are lost souls who aren’t sure what to do with themselves. They turn to Gervais for help because he is the only human who can see and hear them. But Pinkus wants nothing to do with them. He just wants to be left alone.

One particularly persistent ghost (Greg Kinnear) promises to keep the other ghosts away from Pinkus if Pinkus will help him break up the pending marriage of his widowed wife (Tea Leoni). Pinkus reluctantly agrees, and comedy ensues.

That’s pretty much the premise. You’ll see where it goes from there.

In this Monkey’s opinion, Ghostown is remarkable for what it doesn’t try to do as a modern romantic comedy. Namely, it doesn’t try too hard on either end.

There are no over-the-top comic set pieces, no real sidetracks into grossout humor for cheap laughs, and even the plot itself isn’t twisted and turned through the predictable machinations of a romantic comedy just so we can arrive at the same ending we always get to.

Sure, there is a little bit of conflict here and there. But the filmmakers wisely realize that you don’t have to spoonfeed the audience every step of the way.

It would be interesting to read an original draft of the script to see how much Gervais added to the role, and how much was there on the printed page.

Screenwriter & Director David Koepp has taken his share of abuse from movie fans in the past. (Most recently for his role in writing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).

But here his work is tactful, understated and suited perfectly to the cast and the material.

Here’s the trailer for the film. If you watch it, let this Monkey know what you think.

Shameless self indulgence, Writing

10 Minutes of Grumpy Monkey Fiction

In which your Monkey narrator, finding himself uninspired by real life, tries his hand at 10 minutes worth of fiction.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a time for copywriting Monkeys in gray suits with chips on their shoulders and black coffee in their veins.

The Monkeys would shuffle into work each morning in v-formation like a gaggle of gray geese. TheirĀ  office typewriters started up the moment they sat down and they would clack clack clack all day long.

The Monkeys were hulking and brooding and sullen and they pounded their keyboards with a masochistic fervor that made the secretaries uneasy as they walked up and down the rows with files and files of copy to be written.

At lunch the Monkeys would gather by the elevator and nod grimly to each other without saying a word. They’d sit at a bar on Seventh Avenue and drink banana daiquiris while munching on fried plantains.

Sooner or later one of them would pull out a dusty copy of Atlas Shrugged and they’d take turns reading aloud, their hoarse monkey voices turning warm and smooth from the bananas and rum in their drinks.

And then it was back to work, the office once again coming to a halt as this gang of gray Monkeys shuffled back in from the elevators and wordlessly took up their typing again. And so it went until 5 pm, when their typing would come to a sudden and severe halt.

The silence that fell over the office was broken up only by the squeaking of chairs, the shuffling of papers, the rustling of gray trenchcoats and the clicking sounds made by a half dozen briefcases snapping shut.

And then the elevators would come and the Monkeys would leave, heading home to their wives and their lives and their thoughts of Ayn Rand.