So Long, Dummies: Saying Goodbye to “30 Rock”

photo
My “TGS with Tracy Jordan” mug, which I’ve been particularly cherishing these last few weeks.

I probably won’t cry when “30 Rock”‘s last tag plays around 8:59 tonight.  It wasn’t that kind of show.

What “30 Rock” did, and was great at, was throwing jokes at you faster than you could process them all. (It’s re-watchability factor is outrageously high.)  It wasn’t about sentimentality, or forced drama (OMG, is Rachel going to choose Ross or Joey?? #ugh); it was a joke machine.  It didn’t always work, and some of the show’s jokes weren’t for everybody, but it’s the only show I know of where something made me laugh out loud every episode.  And as Lance will tell you, anything that gets me to demonstrate emotion has got to be special.

A lot of news outlets and blogs will be musing on “what ’30 Rock’ means” today, so feel free to check those out if you’re so inclined.  I’m not going to do that; what “30 Rock” meant to me was a good laugh every week for seven years.  I enjoyed this show so much I even wrote to Tina–and she responded! (Probably one of the most joyous moments of my life, sad to say…)

Thanks for the laughs, “30 Rock.”  To commemorate your finale, here’re 30 of the jokes which made me laugh over the years: 

  • “Hey nerds! Who’s got two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn’t cried once today? This moi!” (“Succession,” Season 2)
  • “I wolfed my Teamsters’ sub for you!” (“Sandwich Day,” Season 2)
  • “It’s ‘business drunk.’ It’s like ‘rich drunk;’ either way, it’s legal to drive.” (“Succession,” Season 2)
  • “Last night I had sex with Paula, and neither of us was wearing a Walkman.” (“I Heart Connecticut,” Season 5)
  • “Someone get a PA to feed me baby food, or I will drop a D in the green room. Yeah. Last week you thought I was crying wolf, didn’tcha?” (“Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning,” Season 5)
  • “For instance, Jack taught me not to wear tan slacks with a tan turtleneck. I thought it looked nice, but he, rightly, pointed out that it made me look like a giant condom.” (“Mrs. Donaghy,” Season 5)
  • “I’ve been a GE man for 25 years, and a GE woman for one week of corporate espionage.” (“College,” Season 5)
  • “This is why I hated my first two weeks at the Royal Tampa Academy of Dramatic Tricks: No one knew who was the sluttiest. But I showed them. Oh, I showed them all.” (“College,” Season 5)
  • “Ron, that was terrible. Here’s some constructive criticism: go kill yourself.” (“Governor Dunston,” Season 7)
  • “I have to talk to Rachel Maddow. Only one of us can have this haircut.” (“Reaganing,” Season 5)
  • “Okay, fine, maybe I’m a little old-fashioned. I’m sorry I’m a real woman and not some over-sexed New York nympho like those sluts on Everybody Loves Raymond.” (“Reaganing,” Season 5)
  • “I’m going to have to reinvent you, break you down completely and build you up from scratch, just like Mickey Rourke did to me sexually.” (“Let’s Stay Together,” Season 5)
  • “The writers can’t take a car service at night anymore. I’ve crunched the numbers, and it’s cheaper for us to just replace anyone who gets murdered.” (“The Fabian Strategy,” Season 5)
  • “Drama is like gay-man Gatorade. It replenishes their electrolytes.” (“Sun Tea,” Season 4)
  • “I feel about as useless as a mom’s college degree.” (“The Problem Solvers,” Season 4)
  • “Do you need a sex tape released? ‘Cause I got a weird one: It’s night vision and you can see that his buddy is robbing me.” (“Jackie Jormp-Jomp,” Season 3)
  • “I can’t go back to teaching high-school math! Those girls act like they’re not women yet, but they are.” (“Cutbacks,” Season 3)
  • “They do that a lot in movies: An Affair to RememberSleepless in Seattle, and that remake of An Affair to Remember that I was in, A Blaffair to Rememblack.” (“Senor Macho Solo,” Season 3)
  • “One time at summer camp I kissed a girl on a dare, but then she drowned.” (“Believe in the Stars,” Season 3)
  • “I love this cornbread so much I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant.” (“Hardball,” Season 1)
  • “Here’s some advice I wish I woulda got when I was your age: Live every week like it’s Shark Week.” (“Jack the Writer,” Season 1)
  • “Affirmative action was designed to keep women and minorities in competition with each other to distract us while white dudes inject AIDS into our chicken nuggets.” (“Pilot,” Season 1)
  • “Good God, Lemon, your breath! When did you have time to eat a diaper you found on the beach?” (“Stone Mountain,” Season 4)
  • “Guaranteed mistake, like eating a burrito before sex.” (“Cooter,” Season 2)
  • “Once in college, I pooped my pants a little bit at a country steaks all-you-can-eat buffet and I didn’t leave until I finished my second plate of shrimp.” (“Fireworks,” Season 1)
  • “That word bums be out unless it’s between the words ‘meat’ and ‘pizza.'” (“Reaganing,” Season 5)
  • “Stop eating people’s old french fries, pigeon! Have some self-respect. Don’t you know you can fly?” (“Somebody to Love” Season 2)
  • “Werewolf bar mitzvah, spooky, scary! Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves!” (“Jack Gets In The Game,” Season 2)
  • “You are my heroine. And by heroine, I mean, ‘lady hero.’ I don’t mean I want to inject you and listen to jazz.” (“Rosemary’s Baby,” Season 2)
  • “Lemon, lesbian Frankenstein wants her shoes back.” (“College,” Season 5)

A Mouse of A Man

blog 1.30.13
Back in the day, when I used to shave on a semi-regular basis.

Just a quick plug today for a guest-post I wrote for Mouse on the Mind.  Please go check it out!

As you get older, that need to justify the things you love (especially if they are considered “outside the norm” amongst your peers) dissipates.  You gain perspective, and realize that life’s too short, sincere joy is too few and far between, and honestly, most other people are too involved in their own shit to carry any deep, profound distain for you because you like comic books, or collect stamps, or love Mickey Mouse.

My post for Mouse on the Mind tries to chart how I fell out of love with the one of the things I loved most when I was a kid–Disney, and all it signified–and how that love redeveloped as I grew older.  It’s a different kind of appreciation, not as naive but with deeper affection. I have a better sense now of how that mouse and his compatriots sprinkle little bursts of happiness throughout my life, in different tiny ways every day.  It may seem childish to you, and that’s okay. I’m not only fine with that, it’s sort of a badge of honor.  The world could use a little bit of pixie dust and fairy tales every once and a while.

 

The Lance+Jeff Wedding: Bonus Features

I mentioned in our last post that Lance and I decided it would be fun to have little comics featuring the two of us scattered throughout our reception.  Through the help of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program, basically a free version of Photoshop) and the free version of Comic Life (since I wasn’t about to spend $14.99 on the full-featured version, hell no!), we came up with the following.  I printed them up as 11″x14″ glossy posters on Vistaprint, and they were perched on little easels around our reception:
spidey

Candles_5-4

chickenfingers

Ariel_final

sideshow2
I will admit that this is a very mean joke at the expense of not only Tony-nominated Emily Skinner, but at myself, since Lance always calls me names like “porker” and “chunk-butt” due to my weight. ::SOB!::

paintings_5-6 Storm_in full color!_2

I also hand-painted this one, which was on display as people were entering the reception:

263850_10150685207370527_2087869_n
Lance: “Uhh…you’re not going to dance, are you?”
Jeff: “I won’t dance as long as you don’t sing.”
Lance: “Deal.”

All said, it was a way for us to try and capture our personalities and interests in a cute little way, keeping consistent with the cartoon versions of ourselves which we introduced in our Save-the-Dates.

My dad was really insistent, encouraging us to continue our little cartoon adventures online, which is why the Lance+Jeff blog exists in the first place!  Thanks, Pop!

The Second Lance+Jeff Wedding, Brought To You By All Of My Money

263701_10150685207130527_7478945_n

Yup, this is the one where we paid for a real photographer.

As I mentioned in my last post, we split our actual legal marriage from the ceremony and reception. We had to cross several state lines in order to get our certificate and D.C. isn’t enough of a “destination” to ask our friends and family to make the trek down there.

Instead, our pals Christie and Rich offered up their beautiful abode to host our reception, which was great, especially since we were paying for everything ourselves (with some help from my parents) and we didn’t have a ton of money to spend on a venue and hors d’oeuvres and stuff.

Pretty much everything about our reception was casual, handmade, and pieced together by yours truly (Lance did undergo an exhaustive search for the perfect wedding scents [Bath & Body Work’s Coconut Leaves and Seaside Escape], though. So there’s that…) (more…)

The First Lance+Jeff Wedding, Brought To You By The Cheesecake Factory

Man, getting gay married is a pain in the ass.

Sure, we could’ve just done a commitment ceremony and signed some domestic partner documents in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, but we really wanted to stick it to the Straight Man, y’know?  As Lance’s spiritual advisor, Dolly Parton, says, “Why can’t they get married? They should suffer like the rest of us do.”

In order to do a real honest-to-goodness marriage in the spring of 2011, our options were limited: most of New England (too far), Iowa (super too far), and the District of Columbia.  California, like a bunch of buttheads, let us down with that stupid Proposition 8; we totally would’ve done a combo marriage/honeymoon in your beautiful state if it wasn’t 52.24% full of intolerant jags.

So, that left us with Washington, D.C., a pleasant two-and-a-half hour car ride from Philadelphia.

200190_10150425744050527_6819762_n
Proof we were in D.C. at all: the wonderful honeycomb of the D.C. Metro. Riding this was way more exciting than the “getting married” part of the trip!

This doesn’t matter as much now that both Maryland and New York allow same-sex marriages, but if you’re keen on getting married in our nation’s capital, you should check out this website on how to do it, especially if you’re from another state.  It’s what I used to try and figure out all we needed to do in order to get legally wed.  This meant driving down to apply for a marriage license in person, and then there’s a waiting period of three-plus days before they will actually issue you the official paperwork.  The wonderful people who work in the marriage bureau also won’t confirm a specific day and time to your ceremony when you submit your application; you have to call back at a later time to do that, since red tape is great.

Anyway, we decided to get officially, legally married on March 14, since Lance has some sort of cosmic relationship with the number “314” (there is no actual explanation for this; just know that it has nothing to do with pi).  We’d save the ceremony and reception (and gift acceptance period) for the summer.

196205_10150425744765527_5635141_n
Look at these gorgeous, romantic decorations! BEAUTIFUL.

My parents drove down from Michigan, and Lance’s family came down from Pennsylvania that morning.  This was big for us, particularly Lance, since it was just a few months before that the ice began to melt and his family started acknowledging Lance as the person he really is rather than a person not living up to the standards their church deems worthy (whatever, I could go off on a big ol’ tangent about this, but it’s not funny and not my story to tell, so moving along…) Regardless of all that, it was incredibly significant that our families were there, and it meant a great deal.

I sometimes get righteous and indignant about how that’s just the way it should’ve been and we shouldn’t have wondered if anybody was going to show up because this is LOVE, gosh darnit, regardless of if it’s two dudes, two chicks, or some combination in-between…but I had the luxury of incredibly supportive parents from Day One, and that’s not the world we live in (yet), so I should just shut up.

Anyway…

We had an awesomely jovial justice of the peace presiding over the ceremony; he reminded me a little of the goofy Hank Hooper from 30 Rock, mustache and all.  He read off some spiel about a non-denominational God and the Huey Lewis and the News’s Power of Love, we signed some paperwork and then we were officially, legally hitched.

199350_10150425745810527_1718508_n

Gay marriage is difficult enough. I can’t imagine the headache and paperwork of a gay divorce. You’re stuck with me, Boo!

After the rather quick ceremony, we headed into Alexandria for a celebratory lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.

…Waitaminute.  I’m noticing a trend here…

Aloha Aku No, Aloha Mai No

28313_10150161856295527_2355186_n

“I will never propose to you,” Lance said to me, repeatedly.

In most cases, we naturally disregard gender norms in our relationship since, you know, we’re both dudes.  However, there are some instances where Lance wants to be “the girl,” and this was one of them.  I wasn’t going to get out of buying the ring and getting down on one knee and all that.

And I thought Hawaii, if anyplace, would be the place to propose.  Though of course, in stereotypical “thoughtless guy” fashion, I didn’t formulate a complete plan before we left on our trip.  There are a pair of reasons for this:

  1. Lance is particular, so I didn’t buy a ring, knowing that it would either be the wrong size or he wouldn’t like the design I picked out (yes, this is your typical “man making excuses” thing here)
  2. To be honest, I panicked.  Though we’d been living together for almost three years at that point, a part of me wondered if Lance’d really say yes.

Remember, folks, this was also waaaay back in the intolerant Stone Age (to borrow a phrase from Jodie Foster) of 2010, when the number of states you could get gay married in could be counted on one hand, so marriage wasn’t something we’d seriously talked about since our sinful union wouldn’t even be legally recognized in our home state of Pennsyltucky.

Still, I knew the time was quickly approaching when I’d either have to lock down Lance in the chains of matrimony, or he’d jump back into the meat market that is gay dating.  Lance is not a terribly patient person!

So, I had a mess of a plan: propose somehow, somewhere in Hawaii.  It was the perfect place–beautiful, tropical, full of mai tais and kalua pork.  What could go wrong?

Well, he could say no and then we’d be stuck together on a tiny island halfway around the world from home…

It was a chance I had to take.

Since it was our first (and presumably only, at that time) trip to Hawaii, I wanted to do as much as possible, which included hiking up Diamond Head crater.  For those of you that don’t know, Diamond Head is a dormant volcano that overlooks Waikiki on the island of O’ahu.  It was used as a fort by American military forces in the first half of the 20th century.  The paths used for these installations have since been adopted as a tourist hiking trail to the summit, from which you can get a wonderful view of the southeastern portion of the island.

The hike isn’t difficult (not like the Grouse Grind in Vancouver), but on a hot day, you still end up sweating quite a bit.  Which we did.

28313_10150161861420527_2838021_n

All the while, as we made the hour-trek up to the top, weaving in and out of tunnels and old military observation posts, I was fretting big time.  I knew, in all of Hawaii, that this was the place I had to propose.  I wasn’t going to get another chance at a setting this majestic.  But remember, I had no ring.  And I wasn’t 100% positive Lance was going to say yes.

Of course, when we finally arrived at the top, we weren’t alone, enough though admission to the crater had already closed for the day.  We were surrounded by Japanese tourists, the clickclick of their cameras and their quick, indecipherable native language totally distracting me from my task at hand.  We were both drenched in sweat. This is not quite what I had imagined.

Lance leaned over to me.  “You’re awfully quiet.”

I nodded.  “Err. Yup.”

There were so many people around us, a few dozen at least.  And unlike you straights out there, who’d fawn over a cute proposal on the top of a volcano, I had no idea what to expect if the people around us saw one dude get down on one knee in front of another dude.  We were on top of a mountain–would they through us off the edge of a cliff?

I know this shouldn’t have crossed my mind because love overcomes everything and all that nonsense, but I also didn’t want to ruin the moment with a bunch of rude homophobia.

“Are you ready to go back down?” Lance asked, after a few minutes of taking in the view. (See what I mean about that impatient thing?)

“No, wait…” I said, reaching for him.

I leaned into him, and whispered, “Err…will you marry me?”

This is Lance’s favorite part of the story, because it’s so terribly unromantic.  But, as he says, completely like me. (I’m not sure how to feel about that comment :-/)

Lance, probably not quite sure what was going on, didn’t say anything for a split-second, which obviously felt like an eternity for me.

“Yes,” he whispered back.

And that was that.  Though I didn’t have a ring (that would come later–and then get lost, but that’s another story), we did get engaged on the circular rim of an enormous crater named after a diamond, so…that’s about as close to an engagement ring as I got that day.

Aloha aku no, aloha mai no: “I give my love to you, you give your love to me.”

…Then we went to the Cheesecake Factory Waikiki to celebrate :-/

28313_10150161861505527_3821786_n

Travels With Lance

[Continuing our series on the origins of Lance+Jeff! You can see our other entries here, here, and here!]

It was never a conscious choice of ours, to travel so much, but looking back to compile these posts, it’s pretty clear that going on adventures is a fundamental element of our relationship.

Our first trip together was actually the start of a rapid-fire succession of mini-trips, about five months after we began dating.  We went to New York for the day to catch the original off-Broadway production of future Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal, starring Lance’s fave stage actress of all-time, Alice Ripley.

[Sidebar: Lance’s obsession with Alice Ripley started in a Tower Records.  “I just saw her name on the back of a CD and I KNEW I had a connection with her!!” he describes. Stalker, much?]

lanceandalice

Since this was supposed to be Alice’s big Broadway comeback show (“It’s a RETURN!” says Lance) after an unsuccessful detour to Hollywood and rock music, Lance was terribly excited…and nervous, since the show was still working through some kinks in this limited off-Broadway run.  At that point, it was doubtful that it would even transfer to Broadway…and then what would happen to Alice??

So, after we saw the show that weekend, we decided to bus it back to New York to see it again…twice…the following week.

collage
It was obviously windy that day. This is why Lance no longer has his Milo Ventimagina hair.

New York, twice in one month (not the only time we’ve done that)–a test for any couple.  But wait, there’s more!

Some four days after this second NYC trip, we flew to Chicago!  Lance was checking out grad school programs at the time, and both of us have a mad metropolitan crush on the Windy City.

collage2

Since that chilly March in 2008, we’ve travelled a bunch. Probably too much.

There was Universal Studios Orlando in May 2008…

collage3
Yes, those are cargo shorts. 2008 was the darkest timeline.

DC in January of 2009 (for Next to Normal’s off-off Broadway re-tooling run):

collage4

…then Atlantic City…

collage5

…Finally back to NYC to see Next to Normal play on Broadway, just a few months before Alice won her Tony for the role (and will be forever remembered for her Tony acceptance speech.)

collage9

…Then to Las Vegas…

collage6

…And back to Chicago in October 2009…

collage7

…And then to Hawaii in April 2010, where our Lance+Jeff story will continue tomorrow:

collage8

Our first trip to Hawaii also marks quite a significant event in the long slog of our relationship (I bet you can’t guess what it is!!!1!), a turning point for our relationship, but also for our travels.  Ever since this trip, we’ve gone even more travel-crazy, going back to NYC multiple times, back to Vegas two more times, then to New Orleans, Dollywood (x2), Disney World (x2), Tokyo…and I think there was even a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska in there somewhere…not to mention our trips home to Michigan…

Why does it work for us? That’s hard to say.  If you don’t like the bussle and anxiety of travel, this might not be for you. Thankfully, both of us like travelling and like spending a lot of time together, though we have, over time, established guidelines and agreements so that we don’t kill each other.

This isn’t to say that we’re the world’s most-traveled couple. Obviously not! Nevertheless, our desire to hop on a plane together, to hold hands as the wheels slip free of the runway, and go off exploring somewhere…that’s in the chemistry of our relationship.