Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Crickets, Owls, Railway Trains

As you know I don't "blog" anymore unless I read a book with an owl in it and have to put it on my compulsively updated list of books with owls in them, or for some other reason. So remember when Megan Abbott and I were reading the third volume of Simon Callow's biography of Orson Welles? We've skipped back to the first volume now, in which Callow parenthetically lists some of the traditional gramophone-produced sound effects in theatrical productions; you can see them right there in the title of this "post." You know what else is in this book? H.V. Kaltenborn. I am sure you will recall that for a while there it seemed as if H.V. Kaltenborn - I've never heard of him either - would appear in every selection of the now defunct (?) Doomed Book Club. In conclusion, I am very happy that this book has an owl in it because it gives me an excuse to tell you, as long as I am required to be here, that within these covers Callow describes Bob Hope as "soigné." That is a fair description of Bob Hope! Why, we see Hope here (above) in his green velvet smoking jacket from I'LL TAKE SWEDEN, which I never got to "blog" about (the green velvet smoking jacket, that is) because the day I "blogged" about I'LL TAKE SWEDEN destroying our television set was the day I stopped "blogging." You'll note that the monogram is "BH." His character shared his initials, probably at his command, probably so he could keep the jacket. Bob Hope was a notorious cheapskate, as you know from your obsession with this "blog," which no longer exists, obviously.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fly As Ever

Here's a photo from Kent's party. Look at all these geniuses. There's Adam in the foreground, as well he should be. And the back of Em Partridge's head is deep in conversation with Rebecca Sugar. And then I thought that was the back of Aleks Sennwald's head but Kent says that is the back of Tom Herpich's head! In fact, Kent pointed out, Aleks is visible way back there in the background, in another room, or another plane, ethereal and floating in a violet-blue (?) light. I just assumed she was a ghost! Oh, but continuing along toward the poster on the back wall we see Jesse Balmer and why there's none other than Seo Kim herself, thoughtfully musing! Meanwhile Jesse Moynihan leans against the other wall, as fly as ever in his downy sweater. I also see an elbow and a pocket flap and the back of another head. I'm not "blogging" anymore, but come on, you have to let me get the rest of this ADVENTURE TIME stuff off my chest. You don't want me to bottle it up inside, do you? DO YOU?

Monday, November 21, 2016


I don't know whether you can tell, but sometimes the faulty camera on Kent's computer bathed everything in a mysterious golden light, as in this "screen grab" of Kent with Julia Pott.
Three days a week for over four years I got to see some variation on this beautiful sight, beamed to me from Burbank as I sat right here in Mississippi, usually with my cat Pan. Today it happened for the last time. I want to thank everybody, but especially my constant comrades from the writers' room: Adam Muto, Pen Ward, Kent, Ashly Burch, and Julia. Here are Pen and Ashly in the writers' room looking serious.
Here are Ashly and Julia and Adam in the writers' room looking smiley:
There's nothing to say! How could there ever be a better job with better people? I want to thank Kent Osborne for recommending me for the position to begin with. I don't know what to say about Adam and Pen, except maybe that they're the Apollo and Dionysus of ADVENTURE TIME. Ha ha, that's horrible. [Here there was excised a long panegyric in which Pendarvis compared Pendleton Ward and Adam Muto to William Blake and John Milton and William Faulkner and Jack Kirby and H.P. Lovecraft and Dante in really flowery and completely accurate ways they'd both hate. - ed.] The brilliant (in every sense) Ashly Burch gave us an electric jolt just when we needed it most. I got truly downhearted when she left the show. I felt like a drug addict when they take away the drugs! But then Julia parachuted in at perhaps the most mind boggling moment in the sweeping arc of the series (no spoilers!), just totally undaunted, and showed incredible spirit and ingeniousness that encouraged us to press forward. What an example she is for everything you'd hope to be, including a dazzlingly original thinker and a true friend. Kent always got us rolling. He created a mood in the room that encouraged deeply personal storytelling and brought out the best in everyone. He's a crafty wizard and he'll lead you to your epiphany by misdirection, you know, like one of those monks who cracks skulls with a stick and BANG! You're enlightened. Only Kent would never do that. He's more like... uh... Chuang Tzu. I don't know, Chuang Tzu didn't hit people with sticks, did he? I don't have time to look it up because I need to go get a drink. If he did, I'm sure it was for their own good! Anyway, Kent would never hit anyone with a stick. If you click back over all my ADVENTURE TIME posts (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!) you'll see the debt I owe to each and every one of these creative people, as well as all the amazing board creators I'm not even mentioning here, many of whom were often in the writers' room themselves, even the ones who left their mark before I came onboard, and all the other artists, and everyone involved in the production of the show, and the nonpareil cast. Well, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. I love you all. To repeat myself one more time, I'll never have a better job with kinder people or be part of something of which I'm prouder. I don't suppose I should tell you who worked on our story for the series finale but I will 1) say that it's a murderers' row and 2) guarantee that you'll faint. For four years I got paid to sit around and make up stories with some of my favorite people. I really can't complain. Okay, I'll be at City Grocery Bar crying into an old-fashioned if you need me.

We'll Meet Again

Well I just went to Los Angeles on my final ADVENTURE TIME trip. And though my jottings in my precious book of jottings in which I jot whenever I go on a trip have decreased as my "blog" dwindles into the oblivion it so richly deserves, I feel one last round of thorough jotting transcription is in order on such a melancholy occasion. So let's see what I jotted. The plane landed! I made it to Cartoon Network in Burbank just in time for a meeting. I leapt out of the cab, tripped over my own suitcase and landed brutally upon my knees. "This trip is starting out well!" I probably mused sardonically with my famed sardonicism. I had to use the Cartoon Network first aid kit, which was top notch. Now! I always like to buy a big bottle of seltzer at the grocery store across the street to have in my hotel room, as future biographers will be interested to note. So, once safely in my room, or so I thought, I opened my seltzer bottle to have my ceremonial first sip and seltzer went everywhere! It went on important stuff that shouldn't get seltzer on it. I was beginning to think the trip was cursed, and I was already bummed out because of its elegiac nature. Also, Adam Muto had STIRRED HIS COFFEE WITH A KNIFE during lunch that day! I had a roommate from Wisconsin a long time ago, and once when I stirred with a knife he said, "Stir with a knife, stir up strife!" I had never heard such a thing. But I immediately added it to my catalog of superstitions. So I was inclined to blame Adam for the ill-augured nature of the trip, though Kent reminded me that I fell down and scraped my knees BEFORE Adam stirred his coffee with a knife. I'm not sure that matters! The next morning I woke up with a piece of grit or something in my eye. My eye was swollen and red and the lid was drooping down and the corner of that eye emitted a constant stream of ugly tears. "Well, I can't go anywhere. I guess I will sit in the hotel room and clean out my wallet." Such was the content of my thoughts. "I guess this is how I am spending my last ADVENTURE TIME trip." I threw away a big pile of scrap paper from my wallet, keeping just three things: 1. My ticket stub from when Kent and I went to see 50 SHADES OF GREY. 2. Something funny I wrote down that Bill Boyle said when he was drunk. 3. My visitor's pass from when Julia and I secretly skulked around the GILMORE GIRLS set while they were shooting. Then came a knock at the door. It was Steve Wolfhard bringing me eyedrops! What a pal. Steve's thoughtful gesture allowed me to leave for a meeting I had in Beverly Hills with some degree of confidence. My eye was still bothering me a little when I sat down to a fancy lunch in fancy Beverly Hills. (This was not a lunch meeting; the meeting came later. I was alone.) I ordered a bitters and soda and when I squeezed a lime wedge into it, the lime juice squirted into my "good" eye, for I was wearing my glasses atop my head as I am prone to do. The curse had not yet lifted, I felt, despite Steve's kind gesture. (Oh yes, that reminds me, Steve and I were staying at the same hotel, the one where the guy who plays Squidward always hangs out in the lobby. One evening I came down to the lobby to find Steve sitting right next to Squidward on a banquette, entirely unawares! So I wrote Steve this important note in my ever-present jotting book.)
For my Beverly Hills lunch I had a salad of poached shrimp. There were some hearts of palm in there and some special, hairy radishes. The couple at the end of the bar ordered the same. What a piece of work these two were! First the salad didn't have the kind of hearts of palm they like. Then there weren't enough. They decided they wanted a whole bowl of hearts of palm so they could distribute them throughout the salad in their own inimitable way. But not that kind. They wanted them chopped into a different shape. Then the dressing was too sweet and there wasn't enough of it. And so on. They sent their plates back like six times. Beverly Hills! Well, I liked my salad so much I decided I was going to come back to this place for dinner after my meeting. There would be a whole different dinner menu upstairs! And so I did. That night, the guy seated at the table next to me, very close, asked if he were disturbing me by using a little light to look at the menu. I said not at all! I told him that I had used my candle for the same purpose and had burned my hand, in keeping with my cursed journey. Then I said, "Pardon me, are you an actor?" And he said yes. And I said - and I said it in exactly this peculiar and formal way - "Are you, in fact, Timothy Dalton?" And he said yes. So in a minute I got up and went to the spacious and lavishly appointed Beverly Hills men's room and called Ace Atkins (rudely forgetting the time difference) and told him I was sitting next to a James Bond, because I knew he'd want to know at once. Ace is a James Bond expert! Oh! I forgot to tell you. Flashback to an hour earlier! While I was waiting downstairs for the restaurant upstairs to open for dinner, I sat at the bar where I had enjoyed my luncheon of poached shrimp and watched a 70-year-old French woman (she herself mentioned her age) being - I am almost certain - flattered and cozened by a down-at-the-heels gigolo! Beverly Hills USA! Well, I felt heartened after my encounter with Timothy Dalton. I felt that he had lifted the curse! And so he had.
Why, the very next night I met Em Partridge and Steve and Pen and Sam Alden and Ryan Pequin (of THE REGULAR SHOW) at the Club Tee Gee, a dive with glitter on the ceiling, where I played a bunch of Kelly Hogan songs on the jukebox and Ryan took this picture of Em and me!
Em drew a lot of great pictures on Post-It notes so now I have those in my wallet with that other stuff I mentioned earlier. At one point I told the story of the time I got lost in the North Georgia woods and
Em drew this depiction, the accuracy of which you will appreciate if you go back and read the story. Sam was describing what he called the "hubristic death" of one of his eccentric ancestors and I ask idly if he also happened to be related to John Alden. And he is! He is the direct descendent of John and Priscilla Alden, one of the greatest love stories in American history! Boy was my mom excited when I called her from the airport the next day and told her. "Speak for yourself, John," Mom said, quoting Priscilla, and then demanded a picture of Sam so she could look at him. Okay! "It's no big deal, they had thirteen children," Sam said, implying that half the people in the room were probably the descendants of John and Priscilla Alden, I guess. We all loaded up and went to a party that Kent was throwing for all your favorite ADVENTURE TIME writers and artists, past and present. I sat on the floor next to Ako Castuera and we sang a bunch of songs associated with David Lynch movies.
We sang "Blue Velvet" and "I Told Every Little Star" and "In Dreams." We sang these songs at the top of our lungs half-recumbent on the floor on some sort of shaggy pillow in the middle of the room while people were trying to do other stuff and get on with their lives. On Kent's balcony, we sang "We'll Meet Again" not once but twice at widely separated key moments. Not a David Lynch song but a sentimental choice for the occasion. You know what? I'm leaving a lot of stuff out. A LOT! I feel rushed and weird in my gut because I have my last ADVENTURE TIME meeting in a couple of hours. And I'm not "blogging" anymore, anyway, as you can see. No, but really, I have twice as many pages of jottings that I didn't even get to. But everything has to end, even ADVENTURE TIME, even jottings, even parties. The day after the party Pen brought Kent a bag of fried chicken to cure his headache and I rode along. You know how Kent loves his chicken, ha ha ha! What a life. It had been raining and the sign on Kent's gate was smeared and wistful.
Pen and I had been eating at a shawarma place and noticed a tray of unexpected fried chicken glowing in a golden, almost holy light in the kitchen. It seemed like a sign! A sign for Kent. You don't believe me about this glowing chicken but I'll show you if Pen will send the photo he was compelled to take by the majesty of this glowing chicken of which I speak. [And he just did! - ed.]

Monday, November 14, 2016

Heard You Were Saucy

You know I don't "blog" anymore unless I read a book with an owl in it and compulsively put it on my list, which I do all the time, because every book has an owl in it, including TWELFTH NIGHT, which I am reading right now, and in which Sir Toby threatens to "rouse the night owl" with his singing, although my favorite line so far is "I heard you were saucy at my gates."

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Moon Is Down

You remember back when I used to "blog," how I would take my little jotting book and jot down all my precious jottings whenever I went on a trip and I'd come back and transcribe the jottings for you and I'd usually tell you what I read on the airplane? That's the level of jottings we are talking about! Well, this time I read THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN (mostly just the long, dry, scholarly introduction), which I wouldn't even mention, except there is an owl in it. The Jailer's Daughter says: "The moon is down, the crickets chirp, the screech owl calls in the dawn." [Postscript! There is a more significant - or at least a more striking - owl of which the Jailer's Daughter speaks. "There was three fools fell out about an owlet," she says, and then she recites a little rhyme: "The one he said it was an owl,/ The other he said nay,/ The third he said it was a hawk,/ And her bells were cut away."]