Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sophie Stevens is rich

Snooze Button Generation founder and CEO Joe Stevens has been outvoted by his staff to include more blog posts about his actual life and stop dwelling on obscure '80s and '90s pop culture.

Stevens: Look, the average reader doesn't care about my personal life.

SBG staff member: I don't mean to be disrespectful, but you don't know what you're talking about.

Stevens: Really?

SBG staff member: Yes. A blog is an online diary. People want to read that. Why are you so sure people are interested in Humpty Hump?

Stevens is a single dad with two daughters, Sophie, 6, and Chloe, 4. This past weekend the three went to Big Bear, Calif., where they stayed in a quaint cabin, explored Big Bear and repeatedly took a ski lift to the top of a mountain/menacing hill only to sled ride down it.

During the intense sled riding, Stevens announced, "I can't believe this. This is the best day of my life!"

Sophie Stevens somewhat agreed and even went on her final three runs solo. All was well until they arrived in Long Beach, Calif., where Sophie showed Stevens a loose tooth and went to bed on Sunday night.

Early Monday morning at 12:45 a.m., Sophie yelled, "Daddy, come here. I lost my tooth!"Not only did she lose the tooth out of her mouth, but it fell on her white carpet, lost among the synthetic plushness. Stevens was flummoxed with the significance of the event and could not believe his baby girl had lost a tooth in first grade (Science shows that this type of tooth development is "normal.").

How much could a first tooth be worth? Would the Tooth Fairy pay off Sophie even though the tooth was lost in the carpet? How in the world would the Tooth Fairy break into Stevens' house?

When Sophie woke up, she came out for breakfast like normal. Stevens suggested she look under her pillow to see if the Tooth Fairy came. Sophie discovered a $5 bill, which is way above market value for an incisor.

Sophie Stevens is rich.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

XMan remembered on 'Thanksgiving Eve'

Editor’s Note: Fred “XMan” Stevens unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack on Feb. 16, 2011. The XMan had been featured on this blog many times during his lifetime, including when he was attacked by a killer cactus, suggested his son suffocate him because of the flu and taught life lessons about solving crime. This type of blog entry called “From the XMan Chronicles” is part of a periodic SBG series that recounts tales connected to him.

Today is "Thanksgiving Eve." It is the busiest day in grocery stores across the United States, the busiest travel day of the year and a time when many of us should get busy.

In the Stevens family, it may be a difficult time because we are beginning a holiday stretch in which the XMan somehow will not be a physical part of things. Although the XMan's death was the worst thing that ever happened to Snooze Button Generation founder and CEO Joe Stevens, the death spurred on a couple successful household tasks including the installation of two towel bars (see above photo).

Of course, the biggest manifestation of grief through tasks is Stevens' magnificent Chewbacca collection, which ballooned as he grieved. There have been other successful tasks, too, including the procuring of a baby grand piano and 10-person poker table, installation of an outdoor dartboard in a cabinet, new shower heads, furniture and an underwear/sock upgrade program.

Yes, Stevens has been mourning through tasks and home improvement, and that may sound bizarre because he and his father are/were no handymen.

The faded photo above, for example, is a joke photo because once Stevens and the XMan put together an IKEA dresser. Obviously, they opted not to use the directions, which are for suckers, and put together a wobbly edifice featuring necessary spaces and slants between the drawers.

As Thanksgiving Eve continues and the holiday season kicks off, Stevens is hoping that this blog entry serves as a way for him to feel slightly better about the Stevens family's fate and not bring down those around him as he continually thinks about the XMan. The XMan loved the holidays as much or more than he loved the song "Love Shack," and Stevens will attempt to love them as well this year. He might even put up a few more towel bars, which he claims are perfectly straight in real life but the photo makes them look crooked.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fishing with no apparent agenda

Fishing with John. Fishing with John. Fishing with John. Out on the water. Fishing with John.

I cannot explain why, but for the past few days, I have had the theme song from "Fishing with John" constantly playing in my mind. The song is 43 seconds long and can be accessed by clicking here.

"Fishing with John" is among my favorite TV shows of all-time. It originally aired in 1991 on the Independent Film Channel and was hosted by musician/actor John Lurie. The series only featured six episodes and a total of five guests - Jim Jarmusch, Tom Waits, Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe and Dennis Hopper.

Good God, those are five pretty impressive guests. They're all celebrities, - a bit offbeat, of course - and they all seem genuine and valid. The common thread I like about all of them might be: Ride your madness to success.
Yeah, I watched all of the "Fishing with John" shows and would have gladly watched more. The best thing about the shows is that Lurie has no apparent agenda to actually interview the guests. Instead, his agenda is to catch fish, although he and his guests are pretty damn urban. So the show is ridiculous.

"The Sopranos," "Seinfeld," "Top Chef" and "The Office," according to the Snooze Button Generation, are pretty legit shows. But when you think about it, "Fishing with John" likely is the best show of all-time that aired only six times. And, yes, the theme song to "Miami Vice" is pretty killer, but why is the theme song to "Fishing with John" still in my head?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Swooning at street art

When I used to think of street art, I used to think of graffiti, the movie Exit Through the Gift Shop and Banksy. However, when I visited the "Art in the Streets" exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Geffen in L.A. this summer, Swoon changed my view.

The artist nicknamed Swoon (who is actually named Caledonia Dance Curry) was one of the many contributors to the hip 'n' awesome exhibit, and I had the biggest reaction to her work as opposed to the other loud and colorful work in the exhibit.

Although I do not pretend to be an art aficionado, I do know that relevant art exhibitions that interest people outside the art world aren't common nowadays. "Art in the Streets," however, was relevant, and I think its scope goes beyond only the troubled and confused art world.

With hip hop blaring, skateboard videos in one room and huge street art throughout the MOCA Geffen, "Art in the Streets" had spunk and fun. Swoon's art, however, transcended the exhibit.Perhaps Swoon took into account the space at the Geffen while the other artists simply did what they normally do and hoped for the best. But Swoon's "Ice Queen" (top photo here) was simply breathtaking. It filled the entire room and sent chills down my spine.

Some might say the "Ice Queen" was out of place at the gritty street art exhibit. But I don't think so. It contrasted so much with the other art that viewing it there gave it a bigger impact.

In a major juxtaposition, the art outside the Swoon exhibit was from former skateboarder Ed Templeton, who had one photo of himself holding his naked erection. Maybe anything would have looked good compared to that photo, but, no, "The Ice Queen" truly was ephemeral and amazing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Pills

Editor’s Note: Fred “XMan” Stevens unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack on Feb. 16, 2011. The XMan had been featured on this blog many times during his lifetime, including when he was attacked by a killer cactus, suggested his son suffocate him because of the flu and taught life lessons about solving crime. This type of blog entry called “From the XMan Chronicles” is part of a periodic SBG series that recounts tales connected to him.

I have an addiction, and I do not plan on kicking my habit. I'm addicted to my daughters.

Every moment that I'm with them, I feel warm and happy. I have often felt this way, but with Sophie now 6 and Chloe 4, I've never felt this way more. My mom has similar feelings.

Following the ridiculous and unexpected death of the Xman, my mom and I have been driving in a grief-mobile that has us united with how we cope. We both agree that Sophie and Chloe have transformed into something called "Happy Pills."

No matter how difficult it is for us to believe what has happened to our world, the Happy Pills cheer us up. Their childlike brilliance brightens our day, and we usually feel our best around them.In Cleveland, my mom resides in "The Polish Mansion," and as we drive in our grief-mobile, we are together emotionally and will be together much more in person. Yesterday, for example, she just concluded a three-week stay in Long Beach, and I was sad to see her leave.

Our grieving wounds remain raw. Signs of the XMan are everywhere. I never really believed in a spiritual world before the XMan's death, but so many signs are around me that I am now wondering more and more about spirituality. The glorious Chewbacca collection, fantasy golf windfall and random hail in Long Beach recently (see video below) all make me realize that the XMan's spirit may be communicating to me.

My girls and I will be visiting my mom next month, then my mom will be back in California soon after that. My mom and I will be using drugs - our Happy Pills.