Archive for the Mockumentaries Category

[I, Petunia] Not for sale; Decency II

Posted in Documentaries, Honesty, I Petunia, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Love Thy Fellow Man, MANNERS, Mockumentaries, Narcissisim, Non-Selective Empathy and Compassion, Petunia, Philosophy?, Regretful Human Behavior, Thoughts with tags on July 20, 2013 by Admin

A work of fiction, by Petunia Jablonsky, to be presented in serial format, a few sentences or paragraphs whenever… our attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.

 “The important thing is to write and to keep writing…for when you start you won’t stop until your story has been told, and you never know what you might find along the way, or at the end. You have a gift. Certainly all the money stolen from you — from “family” no less, and including the man you’d called “dad” who kept the money your Grammie left for you, excusing it by saying, “I’m keeping that money; I earned it by being stuck with a sick woman all my life”, and the brother you’d always protected and who’d stolen well over half a million dollars for you because his life is devoid of the things that matter more than money” — means you bought and paid for these stories, so write them and don’t stop for a minute. Do not edit, do not re-read, just write forward and never look back” 

I, Petunia, often think of the good times, the hilarious times, the great times, regarding both of these aforementioned situations and peoples.

When we first met at the wedding of a friend we clicked immediately, in a good way and a true way, not a heat-driven or cheap way. We laughed and danced and smiled and laughed again. I left with him and his friends, a hilarious couple, all of us exuberant and unwilling to let the evening end, and my friend K drove back alone, without minding or worrying, as these were all friends of friends. On the way to an after party of some unknown shape or destination they suddenly pulled over to the side and so we pulled over behind them. They got out, so we followed suit. We all looked at each other, still laughing, not knowing or caring why we’d stopped, and because our radio was blasting Brick House we all began to dance on the sidewalk as cars drove by honking and staring. After a few minutes of this we all, without a word, got into our two respective cars and simply resumed the drive as a mini convoy, still laughing. The days that followed were heady, hilarious, epic, swoonful.

I digress… I promised to just write and write and this is easy for me as I, Petunia, do not write so much as let my three typing fingers do their jerry-rigged thing, loudly as I am often told, on the keypad. There never seems to be any communication between mind and fingers; they just go, seemingly of their own accord. After years of promising that today is the day I will get back to my blog, I, Petunia, have begun, and I will honor that promise and neither rein in my fingers or look back. Editing is not an option.

… So, according to the 48 year-old ex-brother (8 years older now than in the title of that aforementioned Steve Carell movie that I shamefully snickered about)  who, until he got the/our father, incapacitated by stroke, (it was in the newspaper, as such things are) to sign over the house that the martyr already half-owned in addition to his half-ownership of all the bank accounts and funds (he is not very bright but he is crafty. My mistake was never seeing the crafty side and believing a diligent church-goer would never lie, steal, or chat) by way of legal maneuvering,  was reportedly couch-surging, yet I always had my hand out. And he finished that fabrication up with, “Ya know?”, as if anyone “knew”, or would ever believe that I was anything other than what they knew me to be, and saw for themselves, all along.

I get reports from… let’s see.. (counting), 5 states. I pretty much hear most of they say, though they likely believe I am universally ostracized as the results of their efforts toward that end; that the wife is “openly-loathed” to the south and “barely tolerated” to the north; that her husband, my ex-father, is not allowed private conversations and she is often on the other line listening; and that of all the family friends who’d loved my mother (may she RIP, and who would be utterly-appalled at all that has transpired since her passing), and who’d attended her funeral and wake and all the parties over the years that only 2 friends and 3 relatives were at the wedding. The Mole (the new “stepmother”, who the martyr had once called a golddigger, pushy, manipulative, and not at all a nice person) calls herself a widow, but sometimes, after her 4th or 5th drink, she refers to her deceased husband as her “ex”. Once friends of mine had offered to pay for a private investigator, sure that something other than a lie about widowhood would turn up about the woman whose being made the hair on my arms stand up from the first meeting when she’d smirked at me upon introduction, but I declined. It doesn’t matter any more. Or maybe some day I will accept. I prize my clean conscience above all for I, Petunia, cherish my untainted integrity above all. Money can’t buy shit, beyond material things.

“Oh, he (the martyr) stays at the house when they let him and sometimes he stays at her place” (her being The Mole; the misogynist new wife and perhaps, hilariously, my stepmother, who once followed me to a place out of earshot and asked, faux innocently, if I saw a dermatologist for the “rosacea” that I had no idea that I was burdened with, and them smirked at my shocked expression) — “he just flits about. The two of them are thick as thieves, always giggling over things and buying each other gifts for each others’ homes (this from back when he had a home, where he paid actual rent, rather than sponging) and talking decorating, like a couple of old queens”.

A hilarious, and highly ambitious, lie, that of me having my hand out, considering the source and considering that I have supported myself all my life, in my own apartments, since I graduated from high school, including paying my entire college tuition and rent at the same time, working two jobs till I cut down to one at age 35 which is, coincidentally,  the age at which he finally moved to his own apartment, after finally growing tired, in his own words, of his friends calling him a “Mama’s boy”.

At around this same time he began his scheming with the estate lawyer — “I can take a day off work and drive out from Boston to go to the meetings if you like. But I have already used all my days watching mom while you and dad took vacations so if you don’t need me then I won’t bother. I trust you“. Fucking hilarious last words, now — to not only get the big prize, the house, but also to get every penny meant for me.

“Mom always made the shittiest steaks. They were so thin and tough.”

“WHAT?  The Martyr, can you possibly not know how poor we were? Did you think the whole, “Hey! Let’s have breakfast for dinner” thing was because pancakes from a ready-made mix with fake syrup were so delicious and healthy? Why do you think dad always worked two jobs and we didn’t eat in restaurants and every vacation was spent in tents a short drive away? Do you not remember all the talk of medical bills killing us and being why Grammie and Grampie slipped mom money, because dad was too proud, then, so he said, to take their money? Were you that self-absorbed?”

The Martyr is a bit obtuse and self-occupied, but I guess I don’t blame him. I will get to the why of all this.

One night, late…

“Dad, can I talk to you? I am wondering if you can maybe tone down all the talk of ____’s kids living in McMansions (my word/take, given the size of the houses as compared to the little lots they were built on) and making so much money? The Martyr has told me that is greatly upsets him and makes him feel like a failure so I am wondering if, for his sake, you can sorta tone it down. He has talked to me about this and so I am asking you on his behalf. He is very sensitive, as you know.

Also, WHY don’t parents ever brag about how their kids turned out to be such kind people, or brag about the volunteer work they do? Remember the time Nate (not my older brother’s real name, may he RIP) came to you and suggested that you become a contractor since you do construction in your part time anyway, and because you would make so much more money? You blew up at him, you were so very angry at that, and lectured him on how money is not as important as doing what you love, and how you love teaching so much regardless of what it pays and will never worship at the altar of money. I totally do not get how that aligns with all the mentions of whose kids are making the most money and what fancy material things they have, as if you are in awe of that.”

“Dad, can I talk to you? The martyr is freaking out because you are suddenly using The Mole’s name in every sentence and he is having trouble adjusting to the fact that you are dating someone other than mom. Can you just try to sort of ease him into the situation? I have no issue with this woman and look forward to meeting her — and my philosophy is the more the merrier — but TM is freaking. He is till not over mom’s death so maybe just try to be cognizant of that and try to scale it down? there is nothing wrong with it and we all do it but in this case it is causing him to jump up and run out of the room a lot, lip trembling. Could you do that?”

NEXT: THE “HILARIOUS’ JOKES ABOUT THE FUNERAL PLOTS, AND MORE…

I, Petunia, will be back.Every day, as promised to my therapist, whom I will call Theresa, bc she has been my Mother Theresa.

PIXY103.com

A-Z, WTF?

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Communication, crazy landlords, MANNERS, Mockumentaries, Philosophy?, Thoughts, Working in the Real World on May 13, 2010 by Admin

Sometimes Customer Service people can be impeccably nice, and easy-breezy to deal with, working with you to solve problems or reach a mutually-agreeable result.

Just the other day I wrote a letter to the Corporate Headquarters of Air Canada commending Alexis (a man) on how kindly he treated me in accommodating my spinal issues for my flight and all connections. I praised him to the nth wordiness degree. I believe in commending people who do a great job. Customer Service is all about the customer, and is so-named perhaps to remind said representatives. Right?

Other times, not so much. One can run into peevish types; patronizing and scoldish, even if they have antiquated methods and know gosh darn well that there is a problem on their end, yet somehow still feel like scolding you, even if you are completely innocent of all charges. That was my experience today.

I have a storage space at A-Z Rentals in Easthampton. It is not cheap. That place is a goldmine. Do the math. Even I can do that math. An art studio is cheaper, my new plan. It is such a gold mine that I dare guesstimate that they can afford a few computers, some training, and one of those springy date-stamp thingies, with a matching pad of ink. Every month my bank sends a check out  – what is called a RECURRING AUTOMATIC PAYMENT  – perfectly scheduled to arrive 1-2 days before the end of the month, to pay for the upcoming month’s rent, at the lofty A-Z Rentals in Easthampton. I have never had a problem with my bank sending out a check on time, in the perfect amount. They use computers to do this. BIG complicated computer networks, with data regularly backed up, on servers kept in fire- and bomb-proof rooms, kept at controlled temperatures, and with generator systems to account for every emergency, and backup systems for the backup systems and backup generators for the other backup generators, probably in an underground bunker somewhere, like the one my old company had in a town in Germany called Erding, manned by 3000 employees in shifts covering 24 hours every day, so that no data could ever be lost.  At the beginning – so nervous was I at this little operation – I used to manually stop in and hand deliver my check so I could get a receipt with the date on it. When I moved, I stopped in with a check for another two months so as to pay one month ahead, knowing full well that this bill paying stuff, and, well, just about everything, gets all confused and crazy when moving, and so, at that time I gave A-Z Rentals my new address, in person. With the extra month rent paid ahead. I said, “I have a new mailing address. Can I give it to you?” <— clear and concise, yes? The woman behind the very formal counter, dividing THE OWNER and the employees from us renters, wrote it on a piece of paper. I asked a few times if this was to be entered into some sort of computer system. “Yes, of course”, I was told.  I felt uneasy about such lax processes – and my intuition is always spot-on –  but no amount of nagging could get her to put it in the computer at that moment, and I was assured that it was now in my “file” and I was not to worry and so on. I left uneasy at this little handwritten note in my manila folder. I love that phrase, it reminds me of grade school – MANILA FOLDER.

I left picturing data entry and a green screen, with visions of my new address in the hands of cat-eye glasses on a fake-jeweled chain, and blueberry-stained “teeth”, but no rainbows and unicorns, no, this was not a kumbaya premonition and it was to come true, with wrist slaps and scoldings and interruptings and phones a’ slammin’. AND, I must note, I had also given them my phone number AND my email address, when I first filled out the very formal application (Congratulations! You have been FULLY APPROVED for a 10 x 10 space at $75/month!), Though I did NOT leave that time-warp assured of deft use of any interwebby mail stuff. But, a phone…. everyone can operate a phone, yes?

It was a tired old place, with bright fluorescent lights and dust and possibly some framed “prints” on the walls, though my recollection is of standard eggshell paint walls – of course –  and way too bright lights and dustiness.  It left one un-invigorated. It left one uneasy, well, me anyway. Yet I still left $143 lighter, having left that check, for one month due, plus ONE MONTH IN ADVANCE because I knew things would get scatter-y and crazed while moving –  that thing one does when they cart their junk around and frequently end up needing storage spaces – such that it would not be a stretch to assume that people working in the STORAGE SPACE INDUSTRY might understand; changing of addresses and how to contact people and all that rigmarole. Right?

So now they also had my phone number and email address, as filled out on the very official hand-typed-looking form. And then one day I decided –  because I really don’t feel the need to drive across town to hand deliver a piece of paper, especially in the winter – to set up a recurring payment to go out automatically, every month, from that behemoth, Bank of America. No problem. Or so I thought.

So, to get to the point of this rant, today I received a snippy letter saying, “We have continually sent you bills reminding you of the rate increase ($1) that began November 1, 2009 (all in bold, on a sheet that looks a LOT like it came off an actual typewriter). At this time you owe a balance of $7.00.” It goes on to threaten/say how they reserve the right to lock my unit for unpaid rent, and fees that accrue for all unpaid rents, and so on, exponentially increasing their take. Then it says “Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions…”

So, I contacted the office, only to be told by a woman that all the letters sent to me  –  to the old address, which she VERIFIED, (I just knew this would happen)  –  were returned (VERY odd, as ALL other mail was duly forwarded to my new address and I have never missed a thing from any other source. This seems so very very archaically and peevishly odd). So I asked, “well, then how did this snippy letter manage to  get to me here at my actual address?” Miss Scoldy-Miss said they had noticed at some point that the return stamp electronically-generated by the very modern post office, where they use computers and that interwebby thing,  indicated my new address. Well, WHY didn’t you notice that when the very first one was returned?

Then she admits that there is a note in my file about my new address. Uh huh, so someone fell down on the job, didn’t they?  AND THEN.. …it gets worse. Out of nowhere she tells me, in a scolding and superior tone, “You know, rent is due on the FIRST of the month. And our records show that you are always a few days late. Nothing to worry about of course, but they really should be here by the FIRST.”

WTF?

So I get on my computer – while on the phone with Miss Admonishment- and pull up my account and tell her that actually, according to the modern day electronic methods that BofA uses, my check is ALWAYS there 1-2 days before the end of the month which is, of course, before it is due. She rambles on about something to do with something (I got the very clear and unmistakable feeling that she was ad-libbing, especially when she started ad-libbing) and goes on to explain that they get “thousands of checks” from renters and companies every month (hmmm, if everyone even only paid the $75 that I do, this would add up to like 75,000 to 300,000 and up per month, which would easily pay for a data entry person and a computer, for starters) and then, inexplicably, she actually starts naming off large area companies (large, for the area) as in, their exact company names! At this point I interrupt her because I don’t want to hear their client list. Upon further questioning she finally admits that it takes days, and days and days, because they do data entry by hand, AND, this is the crucial part,

“the checks are logged in as being received on the day that the data entry person logs them in, NOT on the day that they arrive in the mail.”

WTF? I ask Miss Peevy (not her real adjective, but rather, a descriptive one) WHY the checks are notated as being received on the day they are entered, rather than the day they arrive, which would be legal and honest and fair. She starts another lengthy explanation of all the checks and companies and I interrupt her again – because I still do not want to hear their client list which is actually none of my business, and is irrelevant (as if the exact company names should both impress me and validate her workload, and as if that should in any way negatively contribute to my credit rating? Because at the end of the day, marking me down as paying things only when they get around to data-entering my check, is by NO means an exact or fair assessment of my bill-paying habits.  So now I have interrupted her again by asking her to please stop listing their clients’ names and she says, angrily, “LET ME FINISH“, and goes back to her litany of time-consuming checks to post and etc. I realize that somehow her workload is justification, by her logic (oh, great and misunderstood philosopher), yet to me this seems like something irrelevant that she should take up with her boss, or THE OWNER (angels sing), and not me, and my credit rating.

Would anyone really want to hear any of this, after being SCOLDED for being late when they have NEVER been late? Ooooooh. Are you kidding me? So we debate whether or not my checks are late and she says, “Well, what does it matter? We have a 10-day grace period so it is ok anyway.” I first ask why she bothered to scold me, if it does not matter, then tell her it does matter to me because I have an excellent credit rating and am not going to let their archaic record-keeping methods ever change that in any way, even if it just for another storage company calling them for a reference (which is seeming more likely by the litany)  I also tell her I do NOT LIKE to be scolded (when did she become my mother or boss or anything like that?).

Hell, if I am going to be marked down as late, I might as well BE late, right? Why prioritize this bill by its due date? Maybe by the 10th they will have sorted through most of their data entry and can get to my check promptly, and then my money will have stayed in my account 12 more days, thus earning me interest, right?  So, Miss Judgement says, “Well, I can go back and pull all of your checks and see the exact date they arrived”. So I say, “Okay.”

“What?”, she asks, sounding furious and incredulous.

“Okay. Yes. Let’s do that. And then the records will be straight and I won’t have that ‘SPOTTY PAYMENT RECORD’ (her exact words) for which you admonished me”.

“You can’t expect me to go back and pull all your old checks to see when they arrived. That would take too much time.”

“But, you just offered to. And I accepted.”

Well La-di-da! Maybe this is THE OWNER (angels sing, renters cower)

And, she does have a good point, but only because of said archaic record-keeping practices. If one is keeping physical logs and etc then of course there would be no time left over for pulling files, BUT, didn’t you just offer to do just that? AND, how about a date stamp? Now there is an implement that also dates back to the 50s or whenever data entry was invented, so I have a BRILLIANT idea! Why not date stamp each check as it arrives in the daily mail and enter THAT date into my account so I am marked as paying exactly on the date on which I do pay, 1-2 days early EVERY SINGLE MONTH?

She says she won’t do this, so I tell her “Ok, then do not ever scold me again for being late when I am not”. She goes off AGAIN about how it is ok to be late and the 10-day grace period and etc and this is really just too much to take so now I do what she did before –  I yell over her, EXACTLY in the same manner in which she yelled over me when I tried to speak earlier, and say, BUT I HAVE NEVER EVER PAID THE RENT LATE.

She fumbles a bit and says “THE OWNER (angels sing again, street sweepers cower, everyone else yawns) says you can call her tomorrow.” Evidently I am either on speakerphone or they use also-archaic hand signals or some such thing and she has caught the onwer up-to-date on our debate and the owner has answered, also in sign language, that I have permission to call her tomorrow, after her nails dry.

Gosh!, thanks for that permission. But I DON’T WANT to talk to the owner tomorrow. What I want is to NEVER receive a snippy demand letter again; for them to take responsibility for getting the address which I gave them on September 30, 2009, correctly entered or, hand-signaled, into the “system”; to be marked as paying on the EXACT DATE that my payment actually arrives; and I want them to never ludicrously scold me for “always being a few days late” ever again, rather than having me in “the system” as ALWAYS LATE.

Mind you, BofA – oh great behemoth of electronica and interwebbyness –  can prove EXACTLY when my payments are delivered to A-Z Rentals. Mind you, other customers are actually late, or don’t pay, and I am a GOOD customer.

But she is yammering away and won’t let me speak so I speak over her again TRYING to AGAIN reiterate that ALL I want is to be credited when my check actually arrives, NOT when they “find time” to “data enter” it, along with that whole list of “big” area companies. Sigh. I am not impressed by “big companies” or “Owners”, or even by money. I am impressed by intellect, kindness, manners, and soul. Material things and spending one’s life “owning” a storage-rental complex is not my life goal. Happiness is. And my good credit rating, in case I ever want to rent another storage space, which is becoming more and more likely by the minute.

And then, she hangs up. On me. So evidently she is not much qualified to be a Customer Service Representative. Maybe she should be a Street Sweeper or Disciplinarian, She who must be allowed to finish sentences, but who does not allow others to finish sentences.

I did not get to finish fully 60% of all sentences and I did not get mad till the very end. And this is how they treat a good customer who pays on time?

BRILLIANT CUSTOMER SERVICE.

I will not be humped. (Explanation of my new phrase “humping”, will be in the next post.)

THIS CONVERSATION WAS RECORDED FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE PURPOSES. Maybe I will post the audio here, so everyone can enjoy the great intellectual debate. ;-)

STILL WAITING FOR A GRAND APOLOGY.

Rare Finds Tuesday!

Posted in art, Documentaries, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Miracles, Mockumentaries with tags , on January 27, 2010 by Admin

From my friend Maureen:

DDT WALLPAPER, WOW!

DDT WALLPAPER, HEY KIDS!

From the Salvation Army Art Department today; A Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – poster created entirely in needlepoint!

$7.99

You’re invited to help save The Bing! Even if just by being there.

Posted in Activism?, art, Exhibits, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Mockumentaries, The Process of Art with tags , , , on December 2, 2008 by Admin

Below the invite is the story behind the story.

You’re invited to a holiday fundraiser for The Bing Arts Center!
Saturday, December 6th, 7:30 PM

at Gallery 137
137 Main Street
Indian Orchard, MA

Festive Dessert Buffet
Blue Moon Coffee

and a selection of holiday wines

The Bing's fabulous logo

The Bing, an old single screen theater in Springfield, reminds me of dollar nights as a kid when I’d ride my bike there with friends and how, under the cover of relative darkness, we’d turn around and peek at the older kids making out in the back corner row. I have no idea what movies I saw there but I remember well the ride there, for it was a long bike ride from my house. But dollar night movies were at like 5 and this was always summer and so we rode home in ample light. The background on The Bing:

“The Bing Theater at 716 Sumner Avenue in Springfield’s Forest Park neighborhood began it’s public service as Kossaboom’s Service Station in the 1930’s. In 1950 the building was converted into two storefronts, a foyer, lobby, restrooms, and an office. The 900 seat theater was built on the back. The theater was named for mega-star Bing Crosby and opened with a screening of David and Bathsheba!

Delivery Day for Dusty Make-Out Rows in the Alley. I sprayed with a hose for hours to remove all the spider webs and egg sacs and other semi-gruesome things.

Delivery Day for Dusty Make-Out Rows in the Alley. I sprayed with a hose for hours to remove all the spider webs and egg sacs and other semi-gruesome things.

The theater was essentially a second run film house primarily serving the southern areas and suburbs of Springfield. It closed in 1999 after a screening of Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho. The City took it for non-payment of taxes. After an aborted attempt by another group, the “X” Main Street Corporation (a 501 (c) 3) purchased it from the City in 2004 to renovate and develop as a non-profit, community arts center. The intention is to provide the neighborhood and surrounding areas with a tool to stimulate cultural and economic development. The Bing Arts Center will host visual and performing arts, in addition to cultural educational programs and meetings. Phase One of the project is nearly complete which will allow public use of the building once again!”

So I got a call about 6 months or so ago from Brian Hale, who is part of the “X” Main Street Corporation, and I got involved by commission.

See!?

See!?

Brian asked me to do a piece for permanent display and for the nostalgic enjoyment of the public and I eagerly accepted. I went to The Bing with him one day last summer and we walked around. He asked me to do a theater seat for permanent display in the lobby. But I thought a single seat would be awkward and that 3 seats would look far better. I wanted my piece to be special and forever, and forward and backward along memory lane.

We walked around the dusty old theater which had sat empty for so many years and as I walked around I got nostalgic, and then I remembered the spying and I looked and there in the farthest back row, which sort of diagonally stretched to the nether regions, was my remembered row (which I’d never actually sat in) and at that moment I named this project The Make-Out Row. But putting glass on the metal parts seemed too obvious and too easy perhaps and not likely to be so aesthetically pleasing so I decided to do the seats. Gluing a zillion little bits of hand-stained glass to the seats won’t work though unless you harden them first. I had previously used canvas as my canvas before when I made The Premier Grand Vacuum Cleaner in which I fortified the cloth bag with resin and fiberglass … Continue reading

Donkey Kong and The Decline of Western Civilization

Posted in 13832338, Documentaries, Life Performance Art, Mockumentaries, Narcissisim, Obsessions, Philosophy?, Popular Culture, Special People, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 13, 2008 by Admin

Can ego and the pursuit of the world record in Donkey Kong really be responsible for the future of an entire civilization? Oh the drama.

A while ago a friend brought over the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. It’s about a different kind of talent. Video game talent. And ego, and ego and obsession. It plays out like an unintentionally almost funny Christopher Guest mockumentary, almost. It is about the video game Donkey Kong and the rivalry between the top world contender and the man who tries to take his crown.

The crown holder, Billy Mitchell, is a man who won his crown at 17 by getting the highest ever Donkey Kong score. I have read that arrested development means that you get developmentally stuck at that point in your life when something big or traumatic happens or when you start using drugs or some such thing. Then you become stuck at that point in terms of emotional and etcetera-stical development. Billy Mitchell, (said crown holder), and his hair both seem stuck at that moment when he won his title and he holds onto it with an egoistic tenacity that is so pronounced as to make one wonder if this is in fact a mockumentary after all. Throughout the film I kept wondering if his hair feathers back all by itself, but then we see him carefully blowdrying and styling his hair for the camera. He has a mustache. In the picture of him at 17 holding his trophy aloft he has a mustache. He lives in Hollywood, Florida. From wiki– “Mitchell is also noted for his cocky, self-promoting attitude; he is the self-proclaimed “most seasoned person in the hot-sauce/chicken wing industry” and owner of “Rickey’s Hot Sauce” in Hollywood, Florida.”

Then along comes Steve Wiebe (pronounced weebee) who is an affable family guy with two small kids and has just been laid off by Boeing. He lives in Redmond, Washington. He has a simple haircut and wears t-shirts and shorts. His wife says he has many hidden talents. He buys a Donkey Kong machine and spends all his time in his garage working on his score. He seems like the nice guy. But with his young son screaming tearfully for him to please stop playing Donkey Kong and pay attention to him it’s hard not to wonder about the emotional effects of this obsession on his kids and why he laughingly tells him to go inside and leave him alone.

There is the kindly referee who can’t pronounce Steve Wiebe’s name correctly (he keeps calling him steve weeb) no matter how many times he is reminded and seems partial to, and in awe of, the cocky star, Billy Mitchell. The referee wanted badly to be a star himself, at centipede – another video game. Then of course comes intrigue, allegations of cheating, underhanded tactics, snide remarks, juxtaposition of the nice guy’s nice, suburban-ey wife with the busty, provocatively-dressed wife of blowdry title-holding guy, and surprises, twists and turns.

I felt it merited a Christopher Guest treatment but it appears that South park beat them to it in an episode titled “”More Crap

Thinking back on the movie I wonder if it was as bizarre as served up by my memory and then on IMDB I found the following quotes which are such that no further words are needed:

Quotes from Billy Mitchell –

“Not even Helen of Troy got this much attention.”

“No matter what what I say, it draws controversy. It’s sort of like the abortion issue.”

“I’ve pointed out to Steve that he’s the person he is today because he came under the wrath of Bill Mitchell.”

“Well, maybe they’d like it if I lose. I gotta try losing sometime.”

“…but competitive gaming, when you wanna attach your name to a world-record, when you want your name written into history, you have to pay the price!”

From Steve Wiebe’s daughter Jillian; “Work is for people who can’t play video games”. and, “[while directly looking at Steve, her father] Some people sort of ruin their lives to be in there.”

From Walter Day, the founder of Twin Galaxies and kindly referee of the film (which oversees the championship games and awards titles and validates the scores); “I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted the glory, I wanted the fame. I wanted the pretty girls to come up and say, “Hi, I see that you’re good at Centipede.”

From the critics-

via Wikipedia — Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, wondering “Who would have guessed that a documentary about gamers obsessed with scoring a world record at Donkey Kong would not only be roaringly funny but serve as a metaphor for the decline of Western civilization?”

Among critics who gave the film negative reviews, Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post said “Is there anything more tiresome than watching people play video games?” and “The competition is so vicious because the stakes are so low.”

More quotes from the movie (thanks to IMDB):


Brian Kuh: You know, he’s gonna have to play it perfectly, he’s at the hardest part of Donkey Kong, and it’s not gonna get any easier. So we may have an exciting moment here, or you know, the pressure may get to him, one of those random elements might happen. Sounds like he just cleared another board, but we could have a wild barrel, or some aggressive fireballs. I thought I was gonna be the first FunSpot kill screen, and then I had three fireballs trap me, I had the hammer in my hand, they still got me. So anything can happen in Donkey Kong. So for someone else to beat me to the kill screen would be a letdown, but lets see what happens, maybe he’ll crack under the pressure and maybe I’ll get my chance to do it first.


Mr. Awesome: Everything would’ve fell right into place, but he forgot about one thing: About me convincing Steve Wiebe not to be a chump, talking him out of chumpatizing himself.


Robert Mruczek: When I have to watch that pile of eight tapes over there for Dwayne Richards’ two-day Nibbler performance, that’s 48 straight hours of paying attention and making sure he’s doing everything correctly.


Adam Wood: I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. I play video games, which I think is a far superior addiction to any of those other ones.


Mike Thompson: I’ve heard a lot of talk of Billy Mitchell, and I’ve heard a lot of talk of strange videos and things. But I haven’t heard much in the way of him getting in front of a camera crew with people and getting a record in front of people. I haven’t heard about that yet. Maybe he did that 25 years ago. But I haven’t heard of him doing it lately, and it makes you wonder why not.


Jillian Wiebe: I never knew that the Guinness World Record Book was so… I never knew it was so important.
Steve Wiebe: I guess a lot of people are… yeah, a lot of people read that book.


Brian Kuh: If anybody wants to see, there’s a Donkey Kong kill screen coming up.


Mr. Awesome: [on video, as George C. Scott in “Patton”] I want you to remember that no punk bastard ever got a gnarly piece of poontang by being sensitive and considerate!


Derek Wiebe: [crying] Stop playin’ Donkey Kongggggg!

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