Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tony's Week Seven: Rock and/or Roll

My Do Something Awesome of Week Seven, which feels like it was posted oddly quickly after Week Six, was seeing Ben Folds in concert in Knoxville.

Knoxville doesn't get a lot of big-name artists; probably since there are no suitable venues in town. So, I was pretty excited to nab some tickets for Folds a few days before he got in town.

Seeing Folds live would have been enough to qualify as a DSA. However, the event took place in a warehouse-turned-gay-club-turned-concert-venue called the Valarium, somewhere I had never been before. It was a non-descript building hidden underneath an overpass that you would have guessed had become forgotten to time had there not been a small neon sign indicating its name. Once inside, though, the atmosphere quickly changed to a very hip, alternative crowd with a egalitarian setup. No seating to speak of, just a large floor with a standing balcony, a bar, and a BBQ shack. And of course there was Folds rocking the suburbs. (See what I did there?)

This is the second time since DSA that I've stumbled upon an alternative crowd that I believed previously didn't exist in Knoxville. And it's the first live event I've been to in over 5 months. Sometimes I qualify an exciting night out as a 3d movie. It's nice to have the bar set a little higher again. Another successful week at unearthing the hidden wonders of Knoxville. Awesome.

Tony's Week Six: The One About Valentine's Day

You know what Tony's Week Six of Doing Something Awesome was not? It was not about being up to date on his blogs. Nope, not in the slightest.

I could argue that I've been so busy doing awesome things that I haven't been able to keep up with updating my online persona to accurately reflect my awesomenisity. Awesomenisity: Copyright Tony 2009. But that would be lying. On the Internet!

So, instead, my humble apologies. And we move on to what I have actually accomplished: Anonymous Valentines!

Of course, this was, you know, over two weeks ago. When it was Valentine's Day.

The project was simple. I created (and in some instances bought cheesy) Valentines with simple messages of what I thought were good qualities about people I know and have known over the years. Then, I sent them anonymously. The idea was that they would get a Valentine's that was uplifting and personal, but from an unknown source. I went through a bit of research to find some old high school names and addresses and this turned into the most thorough prep I've done for a DSA. But I think it was worth it. Unfortunately, I had to be pretty particular about who got a Valentine because I didn't want any future discussion (or DSA blog post) to spoil the anonymity of the gesture. And hopefully, no one will be the wiser.

Roses and Red. Violets are Blue. What makes this DSA so special is that it was the first one meant to improve the life of you. (It's late. The actual Valentine's were better. I assure you.) Hopefully, more DSAs will be good will gestures as I think that part of improving yourself through the DSA project is reaching out to others. Which is why next week I hope to not hate on homeless people! Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

TJ's Week Seven: Dating, I Guess?

Ugh. Man, I don't know how awesome this is, but I joined an online dating site. Time to get out there and meet people in my age bracket and go have awkward meetings in public places that serve alcohol.

God, I just want to stay home and watch TV and eat chips. What would really be awesome is if I magically got a lady to do that with me without having to do all the dating stuff first.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

TJ's Week Six: Actually Seeing a Real Celebrity

So earlier this week, I came into the office only to be pounced on by a coworker.

"Philip Seymour Hoffman is filming down at the Food Emporium," she squealed. "Let's go stalk him."

Hoffman was filming Jack Goes Boating, which, I'm told, he also starred in when it was an off-Broadway show. I guess he's a pretty big star? He, like, won an Oscar or something. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan. I've still got Capote on my Netflix queue.

But whatever. I wasn't about to say no to a real celebrity sighting. After all, fake celebrity will only get me so far.

So I walked down the the grocery store with a few coworkers. We were allowed to go in and shop even though the crew was everywhere and we were obviously tripping over their cables and such. While my coworker Jen pretended to be interested in energy drinks, we scoped out the place: and there was Mr. Hoffman, resplendent in a little beanie cap and olive army jacket.

"Cool," I said.

"Yeah," said the unimpressed cashier as she rung up my coworker's Vitamin Water. "I guess he's okay. He won an Oscar or something, right?"

So that's my cool thing this week. My very first For Serious NYC Celebrity Sighting. And it wasn't a crap celebrity like Jessica Simpson. My guy has an Oscar.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shayne's Week Four, Five and Six: Fitting it all in

Alright, I admit I'm lame. I haven't posted for two weeks. After the New York trip, life picked up speed at an exponential rate and I'm finally starting to breath again. With that said, let the blog begin!

Week 4- NYC!
So I try to make it to NYC at least once a year. This was actually my third trip this year, but totally different than ever before. I went up to be with TJ and Tony but also to get away from Orlando for a few days. I made no plans, had no expectations and just wanted to escape. So what was so awesome? Waking up, taking it easy, going into the city and doing whatever came up. Tony and I walked through Central Park in 30-degree weather, sliding around on the ice. We went to a gay bookstore, ate hummus and walked the streets of Astoria. TJ and I even saw the Chinese New Year parade in China Town. It was a great trip and the perfect balance of fun, excitement and relaxation. Oh yeah, and if that's not awesome enough, we watched part of the Super Bowl from a gay bar. You haven't lived until you've seen the boys go crazy for Jennifer Hudson singing the national anthem!

Week 5: Gasparilla
So my intended awesome event for week 5 turned out to be not-so-awesome. My friend and I made our way over to Tampa for Gasparilla, the annual Pirate event. What I soon found out is that it was founded on Pirates, and developed into a giant frat/sorority party. We decorated half-gallon jugs with bling and puffy paint, filled them with our favorite libations and took to the streets at 8am. Ugh... never again! I failed.

Week 6: Going at it alone.
For years I've been wanting to prove to myself that I could go to a bar by myself. I can handle restaurants but I wanted to go to an actual bar. You know, sit on the stool, chat with your neighbors and bartender and watch the TV screens. So yesterday I did just that. After the longest 5 days I've had in a long time, I had a moment to relax. I was wound up from a school presentation and just wanted a glass of wine. But at the same time, I didnt feel like calling up the army of friends to go out so I drove right to the new lounge by my house. There were only about 6 people there and it was kinda chill. They were playing old movies on the TV (Lassie if you are interested) which entertained me until the guy next to me started a conversation. Who knew "nice tie" could start an hour long dialogue! By the end I was BFF with the bartender and got to know the owner. It was kind of like Cheers but classier...and gay.

Well there you have it...3 weeks of awesomeness in one run on sentence.

Tony's Week Five: Nothing.

Alright, so I knew this was going to happen eventually. For the last week, I have been doing absolutely nothing of any consequence to anyone. I have been knee deep in the mundane and I have no excuse for it.

I'm sorry, Do Something Awesome!

But all is not lost. Just like in life, I just need to pick myself up and do something awesome next week. So, hey, for anyone trying to follow along and do something awesome every week at home - just know that no one expects you to be perfect. Just keep giving awesomeness a go.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

TJ's Week Five: Impersonating a Celebrity

This one was rather accidental. And while Tony assures me that successfully impersonating a celebrity is pretty awesome, I'm inclined to think it's more morally gray than awesome.

But what do I know? I'm just some asshole with a good Twitter name.

Y'see, it all started a few days ago. I was speaking to an online friend who has nabbed the Twitter username @HughLaurie. He's most assuredly not Hugh Laurie, nor does he pretend very well to be Hugh Laurie. And yet, nearly 3,000 people follow him for whatever reason. Misguided faith in the veracity of Twitter usernames? Boredom? For the lulz? Who knows for certain.

But I bet him that if I tried to impersonate a really low-ranking celebrity, it wouldn't be anywhere near as popular. He told me to give it a go.

So that's how a twenty-five year old, environmentally-conscious lesbian in Brooklyn ending up pretending to be a middle-aged, gun-toting motoring journalist who hosts shows about cars blowing up on the BBC.

I honestly couldn't imagine anyone at all following this silly Twitter account; it was just me making stupid one-liners. And yet here we are today, and I've passed the 1,000 follower mark. I'm strangely proud of that.

During the past week, I've tentatively replied to a fan with lolacious results, I created a hashtag for people to share pics of their cars with me, and I've posted a few car-related news items. Hardly anything genius, I know, but folks seem to enjoy it. And before I knew it, I was enjoying it too. The biggest joke, of course, is Twitter itself, since my fake celebrity would never in a million years use a computer except under duress, and would surely never use Twitter. So half the jokes I make are about trying to "get a hold of this Twitter thing." It's gotten a bit meta, as people come to me with their homegrown explanations of how to use Twitter. (No one, by the way, has suggested I use Twitter to impersonate a semi-celebrity. Shows what they know about proper Twitter usage.)

Because I didn't want my pants sued off, I clearly stated in my bio that I'm not real. But it appears that either no one reads bios or no one cares and is happily playing along, because so far 99% of people are treating me like the real Clarkson. It's absolutely bizarre. Chicks are digging on me, children are begging me to tell their parents to get a cooler car, and strange chaps with bad haircuts are challenging me to drag races.

Unsurprisingly, I'm starting to take this pretty seriously. I wanted to have fun on Teh Internetz, but I also didn't want to be a douchebag (unless I was being a douchebag in character). So my rules are: 1) don't give out faulty and stupid car advice, 2) don't claim to ever be real, and 3) don't talk about "personal" things.

I just want to make stupid jokes. But I also want to keep up the realistic tone. I comb over every single character in my allotted 140 every time I tweet. I dread making some Americanism or otherwise showing my hand and ruining the joke. I think I'm doing pretty okay so far. At one point, I thought about making a joke about nannies giving us juice boxes, but right before I hit "update" I thought, no, they probably don't say "juice box" in the UK. I Wiki'd it and sure nuff, it's "carton" over there. Well, just carton? Or juice carton? I decided to play it safe and make a joke about naps instead.

Turns out, lots of people have opinions on naps.

The only downside to this whole venture is, no matter how entertaining I might be, I'm always tied to the real celebrity and his doings. Today upon logging in, I found a pile of tweets from people demanding I apologize to the blind. Oh god, I thought, what have "I" done now?

Turns out "I" insulted the half-blind Prime Minister by calling him a one-eyed Scot. Christ. "I" should really think before I fucking talk, shouldn't "I"?

In fact, maybe "I" should step aside and let fake-me (that's me-me) take over all public relations from here on out. I'm obviously doing a fine job of it. I sound believable, I'm vaguely amusing, and no one's getting offended at anything I say. In fact, it's mostly a lot of picture-swapping of silly cars. Wholesome family fun.

Now if I can just figure out how to blow up a caravan on Twitter...