Friday, June 27, 2008

The Weekend Before Last

I had a blast last weekend. Here is why:

Haleigh was in town from Seattle!

Haleigh is Megan's roommate from college. She stood-up for Megan at our wedding.

Haleigh arrived on Thursday. Thursday night, we saw U23D. It was awesome. U2 is pretty good. U2 in 3D is awesome. The quality of the 3D blew me away. It really felt like I was at a concert. It helped that it was at an IMAX. A couple of times, I felt like Bono was going to touch me on the face. It was foot-stomping fun. The only thing that would have made it better: beer & room to dance. Go see this:


On Friday, I took a comp day from work. My work is cool because they give me comp days for when I work weekends & extra time. I have been working a lot this past month... too much, in fact. So I took a comp day on Friday and went tubing on the Comal River. Tubing on the Comal looks like this:

You can bring a cooler of beer and float on the river. They are getting more and more strict about floating the river. You have to have a certain sized cooler, you can only bring so much beer per person, etc, etc. When I first floated down the Comal a few years back, we saw people doing Jell-O shots, drinking from a beer bong... it was ridiculous. Maybe I am getting older, but I am OK with not being able to drink my beer out of a contraption made at Home Depot. I do not need PVC pipe to consume alcohol.

Another sign I am getting weirder in my old age: we took PugPuggy tubing. She wore a life jacket. I don't think I will ever do that again. I don't think she had fun. She especially did not like the chute part of the tubing trip. Here is a photo of the chute:

The first time we went down the Comal, my buddy Juris's girlfriend, Gloria, almost drown when she went over the dam. It was rough. This time, we knew not to go over the dam. Juris: DO NOT GO OVER THE DAMNNNNNN!

After we floated the Comal one time, we were not ready for it to be done. So we got back in the van that takes you back to your car... and we floated again. Two trips down the Comal.

We skipped lunch. So by the time we got back to Austin, we were ready for dinner. We went to Opal Devine's.

Saturday, I worked in the yard while Megan and Haleigh did something... a spa day, I think. Saturday night, we went to see John, Joe & Buzz do Master Pancake Goldfinger. It was still funny after seeing it again. We then drank ourselves silly at the Stephen F. Austin.

Sunday... I slept. PugPuggy was tired, too. Here is a picture:


After sleeping (2 naps in 1 day... a new record for me), we went to the Green Mesquite...

... and then to Hey Cupcake on South Congress...

... for those not from Austin, Hey Cupcake is a store that sells cupcakes out of an air stream trailer in South Austin. I had the Michael Jackson... a chocolate cupcake with cream-cheese frosting... it was PYT... Pretty Yummy Thing.

Sunday night was the Ladies of the 80s Sing-Along at the Alamo Drafthouse. It was a fundraiser for Girls Rock, a camp where they teach girls how to play rock-n-roll music. It was a blast. Here is a picture of us during the song 99 Red Balloons:

Having Haleigh in town was a blast. We miss her already. She is probably glad to be back in the cool weather of Seattle without a pug on her lap or in her bed.

Thanks for coming to Austin, Haleigh!

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #52

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"smart"

Today's Picture:

Good ol' Australian political humor.

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #51

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"damn the luck"

Today's Picture:

Behold a beautiful oil painting of frustration.

I can relate to this guy. The Tahoe's brakes stopped working correctly this weekend. It still stopped... it is just that the brake pedal would start engaging without me touching it when I was on the highway. It was a minor problem when my car would start slowing down for no reason. It was exciting. The part that keeps your brake off the floor is called a "brake booster" or something. Mine was broken. They replaced it.

So we took my car to the shop. The SAME DAY we dropped my car off at the shop, Megan's car started making this horrible sound. It sounds like a belt or a bearing that is related to a belt. It must be a part that spins because that is how it sounds.

So as soon as we pick up my car, we are going to drop Megan's car off at Motormania, Austin's finest VW repair shop.

What is the solution, you ask? Here is a photo of the solution:


Maybe that is a little extreme.

Here is another alternative:

Yup, we're getting a Smart Car.

More to follow...

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"hairy man"

Today's Picture:

Dear Kind Sir in the Photo,
Please wear longer shorts.
Sincerely, America.

A couple of notes about searching for "hairy man" on Google:
#1) Don't do it at work. Only bad things happen.
#2) Don't do it at home. Only bad things happen.
#3) Don't do it anywhere.

I will not be able to sleep tonight because of the things I have seen on Google image search. I kinda knew it was a bad idea when I typed "hairy man" in the Google search field. It turns out my gut was right. As awkward as the first thing is that comes up, the second image was horrifying. It was like seeing a creepy janitor passed out after a keg party. I can not un-see it.

Name This Person And Win!

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules? We don't need no stinking rules.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #47

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"hairy woman"

Today's Picture:

Holy crap.

What happened?

Here is a list of possibilities:
1) slept in a bed of Rogaine
2) going to a Star Wars convention
3) she's French
4) scientist did this on accident

Seriously, this might be the most disturbing Google image search I have ever done.

Just don't rip her arms out of socket if you don't win her heart.

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules? Where we're going, we don't need rules.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #49

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"totally fun"

Today's Picture:

I guess that is "totally fun" for someone. What can I say, I am just not a purse kinda guy. I carry my make-up in a paper bag.

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!



Rules

Monday, June 16, 2008

Awesome Weekend

Last weekend was a blast.

It started Thursday night with the Baghead premiere. I loved it. Go see it. It is brilliant and self-aware. It really makes fun of itself in the opening sequence.

Friday was great, too. I saw Joe, John & Buzz perform Master Pancake's Goldfinger. It was rehearsal & hanging out.

Saturday, I saw The Promotion. My friends Mark, Kat & Leslie. Then I performed with Master Pancake on Saturday night. Joe Parsons was at a wedding (not his wedding). The 7 PM was a great warm-up for a rocking 10 PM show. I performed with John & Buzz Moran. John Erler was brilliant (as usual). Master Pancake has been on a Rick Perry kick for some reason. Rick Perry is the governor of Texas. The governor's mansion burned down last weekend. It is not really funny, but it was cracking me up last weekend.



Buzz Moran is awesome. I had never met Buzz before performing with him in Master Pancake. He is a delight. He is also a proud father of a 7 week old boy. I think Buzz will be a great dad because he wears the same glasses my dad wore in 1968. My dad is a great dad... therefore the glasses must be a good omen. Here is a picture of Buzz:


Sunday was a great day, too. I spent it with Megan. We took PugPuggy to Bull Creek & we saw Zohan with Adam Sandler. It is a renter. It was not bad, just not great either. I was mildly surprised to see Dave Matthews in it. That was funny.

In other news, PugPuggy discovered a baby bird in the backyard. PugPuggy wanted to play with it, but it is WAY too little to play with PugPuggy. The baby bird can not fly & it just hops around our back yard. It is spending most of our time under the porch. Occasionally, a momma bird interacts with the baby bird... feeding it I assume. The baby bird is too little to fly. So Megan & I have been keeping PugPuggy inside. 2P's is too big to play with the baby bird & too curious to leave it alone.

I assume the baby bird is hurt. But it is very much alive. I don't know how long it will make it, but I hope it learns to fly.

In Summary: Buzz Moran will be a great dad, I hope the baby bird learns to fly before PugPuggy eats it, Texas Governor Rick Perry lives under the stage at the Alamo Ritz.

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #47

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"Hiroshima Carp mascot"

Today's Picture:

Yup, that was the costume I wore for a year in Japan. I don't know if that is me or not... probably not. It was hot & stinky in that costume, but I loved it. That picture was taken at Hiroshima Shimin Kyujo... or Hiroshima Municipal Stadium. That looks like the outfield bleachers where the yell leaders sat. There were many drunks in that section of the stadium. They were great.

The Carp is my team. They are the Kansas City Royals of professional Japanese baseball. Go Carp.

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!


Rules

Friday, June 13, 2008

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #46

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"bad dancer"

Today's Picture:

Welcome to my blog, bad dancer.

I don't know if she is dancing or turning-away from the singer in the background. I can related to this woman, I have turned away from many-a-karaoke horror.

But, if it is true that you are engaged in "dancing" in this photo, I say go for it. Cut loose. Dance like no one is watching. And surely, if you keep moving in this manner, no one will want to watch.

This is for my Austin Comedy Friends: I see a little Jen Cargill in this woman. And I see a little Erin Plitschke in man behind her. Anyone else see that? Or is it just because I miss them & have not seen them in a long time (please come home from Chicago, you two).

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ben Bartley the Busy Bee

Recently, I have not been blogging as often. I need to shake that.

What is happening with me? I am working too much. Besides the normal 9-6 job, I have been editing a training video for the one and only Les McGehee. Les is the owner of National Comedy Theater in Austin. Les is such a great guy, he put my wife & I on the cover of his book:

If the cover of Les' book was a Beatles album (bare with me), Megan would be Paul (she is not wearing shoes... internet rumors about her death would quickly circulate), Les would be Ringo (the heart of the band, staring at the happy face) and I would be Yoko (staring directly at the flying money bag). George Harrison would not be on this album\book cover because he would be busy getting his wife back from Eric Clapton.

Besides editing Les' video, I just found out I am going to sub for my buddy Joe Parsons at Master Pancake this weekend. What is Master Pancake, you ask? Master Pancake is a movie mocking group at the Alamo Drafthouse. Occasionally I perform with them. This weekend, Joe is going to a wedding. So I will be filling-in on Saturday night.

Master Pancake mocks a movie in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000. But we do it live in front of a drunk audience. The Alamo servers beer & liquor. We do drinking games during the movie. It is about the most fun you can have at a movie theater, in my humble & biased opinion. In fact, it was rated as the number 2 way to experience a movie by Kate McNally. Fittingly, we are number 2!

About half-way through the movie, we stop the movie and do a sketch loosely based on the plot of the movie. Guess who I am playing. If you guessed James Bond, you were wrong. I am playing...

... OddJob. I am playing a Korean body guard who grunts. I am so tired of being type-casted.

You can buy tickets on the Alamo website.

So life is good. Life is busy. But life is good.

Tonight, I am going to see the premiere of Baghead in Spicewood, Texas. It should be a good time. Baghead is the latest movie by the Duplass Brothers.

In summary: 1) I am happy and busy, 2) Les, Megan & I are the new Beatles, and 3) Korean body guards are awesome.

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #45

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"tacky"

Today's Picture:

Wow. This poor woman. Ronnie Milsap told me her outfit was too bright.

In defense of this woman, this picture was from a "Tacky Party". She probably won a prize for this outfit.

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules

Monday, June 9, 2008

PugPuggy at Bull Creek

PugPuggy, Megan & I go to Bull Creek most weekends. Megan & I usually bring chairs and sit in the water while PugPuggy runs wildly through the water. It is relaxing and 2Ps loves it. She goes crazy and then sleeps for about 2 days.

A couple of weekends ago, I took my digital camera which can record video. Here is a video of PugPuggy playing in Bull Creek.



The music under the video was written by the multi-talented Austin legend & all-around-great-guy, Southpaw Jones. I like this song. It reminds me of beginnings & hope. Bull Creek reminds me of the beginning of summer. You can check-out Southpaw's other songs & blog at www.southpawjones.net

I am going to get a group of people to go see Southpaw in 3 Thursdays. That is some good planning ahead. My next 2 Thursdays are occupied: this Thursday, I go see the Duplass Brothers in Spicewood as they premiere Baghead... the following Thursday, Haleigh comes in town from Seattle... hooray! So 3 Thrusdays from now, I go to see Southpaw. Who is in?

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules

Friday, June 6, 2008

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #44

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"vacation time"

Today's Picture:


This is in honor of my sister Jodi and my friends Darrell & Jennifer. All three of these people are currently on vacation... but not together. Jodi is in New York City. Darrell & Jennifer are in Mexico City.

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Fall

I saw "The Fall" on Monday night. Of the movies I have seen this year, this was by-far the most beautiful cinematographic-ally. (Is cinematographic-ally a word?) It was gorgeous. It was absolutely striking and wonderful. This movie has entered my top 4 of the year along with Iron Man, Son of Rambow & Young @ Heart. This movie has inspired me about film making. At the same time, it depressed me about the movie industry.

I felt really lucky because I saw the movie with the director, Tarsem, in attendance. He had a Q&A session afterwards that was, by-far, the most entertaining Q&A session I have attended this year. He was absolutely fantastic. His passion for this movie was unparalleled. The breathless rate at which he spoke about his film inspired me. It made me want to pursue my film ideas without fear, without hesitation. He was also really funny. During the movie, he sat in the second row. During the Q&A, a woman in the second row raised her hand to ask a question. Tarsem told the lady that he would not be answering her question because she received & typed about 10 text messages during the movie. Everyone in the theater burst out in applause. It was a beautiful moment of public shame. It is too bad she had to learn theater etiquette in front of such a large group of people. As a film lover, I really appreciated that he stood-up for other movie-goers. Way to go, Tarsem.

At the same time, I was wildly depressed about the state of the movie industry. How could this film not be picked up for major distribution? This movie is showing on only two screens in Austin. Does anyone know the reasons why this was not picked up by a major distributor (no offense, Roadside Attractions... you are doing a great job & thank you for bringing it to Austin)? But if anyone knows why this did not get picked up by one of the biggies, let me know in the comments.

In the Q&A session, Tarsem said the movie was panned by some critics and then no major studio would touch it. First, who are those critics. Second, did they watch the same movie I watched? Third, critics who panned this movie, please send me your home address so I can kick you in the private parts.

Please watch the trailer here.

Here is a link to the cities in which it is playing. These cities include Louisville, Milwaukee, Chicago, Seattle, Columbus, Kansas City, Tucson, San Francisco... I am calling to my friends: go see this movie.

This was a beautiful movie. Way to go, Tarsem. Really nice job.

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #43

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"crazy fans"

Today's Picture:

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"
The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Erik Schullstrom, Doozo Yoroshiku

Erik Schullstrom is the funniest dude I know.

I have a bunch of friends & family who make me laugh, but no one makes me laugh harder than Erik Schullstrom. I don't know why he can make me laugh... probably because I am afraid he will eat me if I don't laugh at his jokes. Schully is about 6'5" tall and well over 700 pounds (Schully-san, choto... debu, des ne... Ben-san mo).

I met Schully in Hiroshima Japan. We were much skinnier back then. Here is a photo that proves it:


Schully pitched for the Carp. Don't believe me? Here is his baseball card:

Sweet job, eh?

What was I doing in Japan? I was a mascot. Yes, a mascot. This is what I looked like in Japan:


Back in the day, Schully pitched for the Minnesota Twins. He also pitched for USA baseball. Presently, Schully is the Director of North American Scouting for the Hiroshima Carp.

I have so many great stories from hanging out with Schully. I am not even sure which one to post here. I guess, if I had to pick one, this would be it:

My parents are good Catholics in Kentucky. They are a little less crazy than their son. My dad has a PhD, my mom has 2 Masters degrees... they would never move to Japan to be a professional mascot. They are bit more on the conservative side than I. About 7 months into my stay in Japan, I am having a conversation with my mom. She says, "I received the postcard from your friend Erik." I said, "what? ... what postcard" My mom just laughed and said, "you have some very... interesting... friends in Japan". So I asked Schully, "hey, did you send my mom a postcard?" Schully said yes, he did. Schully proceed to explain that he took a picture of himself taking a bubble bath. He developed the picture, wrote the following letter to my mom in Kentucky: "Hi Jane (my mom), here is a picture of me getting my bits clean. Love, Erik Schullstrom". Then he mailed it to my mom. I had no idea. I don't even know how Schully got my parent's address... I might have given it to him. I don't know. I have at least 100 more stories exactly like that.

Another time, I was visiting Schully in San Francisco. I told him I was going to the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory. He told me, "at the end of your tour, make sure you ask for a Green Turtle Chocolate. It is a special chocolate that only people from this area know about, but you have to ask for it by name because they don't sell it on the shelves." So I did. At the end of the tour, in the souveneir shop, I asked the lady behind the counter for a Green Turtle. The lady said, "sir, I have no idea what you are talking about." Schully had lied about the existence of the Green Turtle.

Damn, that was a good joke. I wish I had thought of it.

I have sworn revenge for the Green Turtle scam.

But what really makes Schully special... he is a dad.

Schully put his tento-wo-haru in Midori's manko and a little later, out popped Lana!

On my most recent trip to California, I went to visit Schully & Midori in Alameda where they live. Here is some video of Schully playing with his daughter.
video

Call CPS. Erik Schullstrom is a baby-thrower.

Raise your beers now... a TOAST, to Erik Schullstrom.

KAMPAI!!!!!

Google Image Search: Word & Picture #42

Here is how this works:
I put in a word into the Google image search.
I post the picture of the first thing that comes back.

Today's Word:
"Erik Schullstrom"

Today's Picture:

Wow. Dude. Schully was young.

Schully played for the Alaska Gold Panners. Gold Panners was the original name of a Kanye West song... "now I ain't sayin' she's a Gold Panna'... but she ain't messin' with no broke man-na..." Jamie Foxx was singing back-up. It was great.

For those that don't know my friend Schully... wait, I am doing this in a separate blog entry.

Daily "Name This Person And Win!"

The first person who names the person in this picture wins a hug from Ben!!!

Rules

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Got "The Happy" Inside of Me

OK, so at some point on Monday, someone is going to ask me, "what did you do this weekend?" I am going to say, "I wrestled a grown woman at a cemetery... you?"

On Saturday morning, I jumped in a mini-van at 7:30 in the morning, drove to Bastrop, Texas, and shot a short film with some great friends. The premise was a silly, silly idea I had about 2 grown adults visiting their dad's grave. They argue like children and then start wrestling on his grave. It ends with a chase scene through the cemetery. Yes, I am going to hell.

I acted in this short film... a big change of pace for me. It was good to get out from behind the camera. I have no formal training in acting. I just have the normal acting & pretending in every day life... like pretending to be interested in my day job, acting like I am paying attention at meetings when I am actually thinking about other things, pretending to be sorry when I get pulled over for speeding... normal, everyday acting. So I was a bit nervous when I got in front of the camera this weekend. But I had a blast.

Something I discovered about myself this weekend... I am a smiley dude. I smile a bunch. My role this weekend did not call for me to smile. In fact, it called for me to be disgruntled, in a silly way. But I can not suppress the smile. It comes from way-down, deep inside of me. I am a pretty genuinely happy dude.

Don't get me wrong, there are dark parts of Ben Bartley. On several occasions, I have been a real jack-ass. Don't believe me? Ask my sisters about waking me up for high school. Ask my parents about me getting suspended from high school. Ask Megan about my demeanor when I have too many commitments or when I feel defensive. Ask my buddy Schully about boarding the airplane in Thailand. Ask my brother-in-law Gar about the Lake of the Ozarks. Why is it that I can be the biggest jack-ass to the people I love the most? If you have not seen me be a jack-ass, consider yourself lucky. I hope I never show you. I will try to never show you. If you have seen me be a jack-ass, I am sorry & I love you & thank you for loving me the way that I am.

Despite being a jack-ass once in a while, I still got "the happy" inside of me. I hope it never goes away. I hope that smile shows-up in the video, because that is who I am & who I want to be.

I also shot some video with my buddy Les on Saturday afternoon. We then went to go see my friend Scotty play blues music a Sambet's cajun restaurant at Spicewood Springs and 183. Wow, the music was good. And the food was awesome. I ate a plate of snapper that the waitress recommended. We also had an appetizer of cajun kisses. They were delicious! Sliced jalapeƱos stuffed with shrimp, cheese & wrapped in bacon. Sambet's makes their own Louisiana Hot Sauce. It is a BYOB restaurant, so Les & I brought a cooler of beer and shared it with the band & the employees after they closed. I had a great time. Megan came by for a little bit. She had just been to see Sex in the City.

The owner of Sambet's & his wife were at the store on Saturday night. They had a crawfish broil. They had extra crawfish, so I took about 10 pounds of crawfish home with me in a big plastic bag. We ate crawfish on Sunday after taking PugPuggy to Bull Creek. My buddy Dan brought his dogs to Bull Creek. He then came over and ate crawfish with us. I still have left overs. If anyone wants some crawfish, come on over for dinner.

This was a good weekend.