Despicable Me, or Minion Mayhem

I knew getting a Universal annual pass was taking my life into my hands. I knew, at some point, in spite of the exhaustive research I do before going to theme parks to determine what rides I CAN NOT go on, that I’d be turned away. What I did not know, is that it would a terrible, mortifying experience.

Universal Studios. July 28th. It’s not the people I mind. It’s 92 degrees with 80%+ humidity and 5 mph winds. At least according to weather.com. Sweltering is a word that this weather laughs at.

Up until this point the whole day was an exercise in “Well, coming here today was a mistake.” and not just for me. I came with two friends, now mind you, I weigh more than both of them combined, and they complained about how unbearable the heat was more than I did. I was too busy trying to focus on putting one foot in front of the other and not pass out.

So, we walk in, make it to the gate of Universal Studios, and before we’re even in the park the heat’s really working on me. I know it was the heat, because even my friends were commenting how I had no problem walking around the last time we were there, and I know I’ve lost weight since then. Plus, I’ve never almost passed out from just walking in temperate weather. Let’s just put this way, it was so hot I was verbally considering renting a fat cart.

I make it to the Simpsons ride (chosen because it was only a 30 minute wait at the time), ride that, then take some emergency cool-down measures before continuing. We (my friends and I, as a group) decide that it’s just too ridiculous out and hightail it over to Finnegan’s to chill out in the A/C and enjoy some cool beverages. I finally was able to regulate my body temperature here, and my face returned to a color other than that of a ready to eat shellfish.

By now, it was past 4pm, and one of the perks of our annual pass had kicked in. After 4pm, passholders have “Universal Express”. They’re like fastpasses at Disney. Basically, I get on the ride ahead of Bob from Toledo here with his 3.5 kids. Since our Express had kicked in, I told my friends they should go across the street (literally) and hit up The Mummy before we moved on. This allowed me to delay having to face the heat again, while not slowing my friends down from enjoying the park. From that, we formulated the plan that once they were done with that, we’d go on the new Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride by way of the Twister ride, head over to Islands of Adventure, ride the newly updated Spider-Man ride, and I would call it a day. Yeah, it wasn’t much, but I can go back as much as I want.

They came back to get me, and we hit up Twister, because I had never done it before. I could write an entire article about how AMAZING (read: cheesy) Twister is. Then on to Despicable Me. We used our Express, got right in. No tester seat outside, nobody said A WORD to me about there being a possibility I wouldn’t be able to ride, and there were no fat warnings on the warnings sign. My friends had been on it on a previous trip, and assured me it was just like Simpson and Spider-Man (a motion simulator ride with bench seats and a lap bar), and I can ride both of those with NO issue.

The ride is FULLY loaded. Probably about 100 people all seated and ready to go. We’re asked to raise our arms up, the arm bar comes down, I situate it to where I can ride comfortably, but the bar stopped moving. I figured I had found another ride that I could ride. Here’s a play by play of what happened next.

Loudspeaker: “Ok everyone, put your arms back up.”

*Bar goes up*

Employee Who Obviously Drew The Short Straw: “Ma’am, the ride won’t start unless all the bars go down all the way.”

Me: “The bar stopped. It didn’t go down all the way?”

EWODtSS: “No, it didn’t. If you’ll follow me please.”

Now, down in the front of this ride, they have two long bench style seats that aren’t a part of the motion simulator. Two, long benches, just bolted to the floor. This is for expectant mothers and such. I was led, LED, like a child, to the front bench in front of ~100 people. And THEN the ride started.

First. Ma’am? Really? I thought this was put past us when I started growing facial hair. Pretty prominently at this point. Not that I should have to grow facial to not be mistaken for a woman. I’ll never understand it. Who are the women in their lives that they’re mistaking ME for a woman. I shudder to think.

Second. They could have extended me the courtesy of stopping me BEFORE the ride loaded fully. That was 60-70% of the embarrassment right there. Stopping the flow, stopping everyone’s good time, after everyone was loaded and ready, because I’m too fat to ride.

Third. Universal, you have tester seats for MANY other rides. If you build a ride with a particularly fit, particularly restrictive restraint system, either WARN PEOPLE, or put out a tester seat. I say particularly restrictive, because as previously stated, I can ride Spider-Man and Simpsons without any issue, and this ride is of the exact same ilk.

Fourth. And finally. Instead of saying, “Follow me please.” and leading me to the bench, how about saying, “You’re welcome to enjoy the show from one of the stationary seats, or the exit is this way.” If given the choice, I’d rather not be paraded all the way to the front of the crowd who’s ride I just delayed, to be the ONLY person on the stationary benches.

I don’t care if it’s just some kid making whatever Universal pays, as a theme park that creates rides catered to certain body types, they should be trained in not only what to say and do in situations like this, but also what NOT to say and do.

I was mortified beyond belief, so I sat, but I can definitely say I didn’t enjoy myself.

Between how utterly demoralizingly embarrassed I was, and how bad the heat was grating on me, I decided against shlepping all the way over to Islands of Adventure for Spider-Man and called it a day.

I’ll be back though, I’ll be back.


Feed My Frankenstein

Coming to you taped in front of a live audience, from my desk at work, distracting myself while suffering through a particularly bad food withdrawal, it’s an all new Spatter Pattern!

Ladies and gentlemen, boy and girls, today, I had an idea.

I’m not allowed to get them often, because people end up getting hurt somehow most of the time, but I was permitted one today!

So here goes. I’m learning to sew.

I know this doesn’t seem earth shattering, but hear me out.

I have a room FULL of clothing that I’ve either gotten too big for, or is damaged in some way, shape, or form. I’m about to go DIY all over it.

Here’s my idea. I can patch pants up/design new frankenstein pants with other pants that are too far gone, or even go out and buy fabric.

Shirts are just as simple . For example. I have a VINTAGE T-shirt from Furthermore. Fisch threw it in as a goodie when I bought new copies of their discography when he was getting rid of the last of his. It’s an XL. I’ve never worn it. I haven’t been able to squeeze into an XL since 2004, however, I *DO* have a lot of plain black t-shirts in my size. So, I figure, cut out the design/as much of the shirt as I can use, put it on a plain black shirt, and sew it on as a very large “patch”.

The great thing about this, is as I inevitably (hopefully) lose weight, I can unstitch the “patch” from the bigger shirt, and re-stitch it to the new, smaller shirt.

This is either going to be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to my wardrobe, or it’ll be an unmitigated DISASTER.

Care to join me in finding out?



You see this blob sitting in front of you? This is what desperation looks like.

Yeah, desperation isn’t fun. I’m getting so frantic and panicky about losing weight and getting healthy. I’m likening it to stumbling through life for ~20 years, being an outsider, gathering ammo and intel, not giving a fuck about myself, then “waking up” to my body as an absolute unmitigated disaster, and it HURTS to do anything about it. Structured exercise, hurts. Badly. Diet hurts. Badly. But I don’t really have a choice, do I? Being an outsider and just not fucking caring for the amount of time I did is now reaping the consequences now that I actually want to join life.

I’ve been researching just what I could do. It’s frustrating, and enraging, and at times panic-inducing. It brings me to tears at times, I’m just so distraught and feel so hopelessly lost in my own body. It got to the point where I started reading what Manuel Uribe did, he was the guy who hit over 1,200 pounds. I’m less than half of that, but I figured there would HAVE to be some tips.

Last night I had a breakthrough.

To begin, I was high. REALLY high. And with the incense I smoke, the high enhances music. It really makes me feel like a part of the music itself. I was listening to P.O.D.’s new album Murdered Love. I started “dancing” in my chair. Not getting up, not putting the weight on my body, but doing the same moves. I’m sure It looks so fucking lame, I feel like I’m some kind of senior citizen, but gosh dammit if it isn’t fun.

Song called On Fire came on and I really kicked in. I started boxing, while seated, but the motions. It’s easy and fun to do, and I can go as hard as I want without worrying about “hurting” myself”.

I figure it HAS to burn SOME calories. More than just sitting there, and ANY calories burned are better than none.

This is what desperation looks like folks. A fat fuck in an oversized chair spazzing out. Kinda fucking embarassing, but I don’t see any better solutions right now.


Been A Son

So, I decided that I should be more consistent. Starting with a father’s day companion to my mother’s day post.

My dad.

I wish I could say things have always been great with my dad and I. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. I had the so-stereotypical-I-wanna-shoot-myself teenage relationship with my father. It was fantastic, until it wasn’t. And when it wasn’t, holy fuck. A lot of things have been said by both of us that just can’t get taken back, but it’s not really about what’s said, is it?

No matter what, I’m thankful that I have a father. A father that, in spite of anything said between us, shows that he loves me on a constant basis.

Ultimately, I look back, and I don’t see a father and a son who constantly fought. I see a father who was convinced of my potential and frustrated when I didn’t live up to it. Because, let’s face it, I STILL don’t live up to my potential on a daily basis. I don’t need to wear the t-shirt “Genius by birth, slacker by choice” because I fucking live it.

My father was born and raised in the Bible belt. My father is in a (non one-percenter) biker gang. My father enjoys long days spent being active in the sun. There’s nothing wrong with any of these. They’re perfect harmless, wonderful things and activities. They are some of the things that inform my father’s character, but let’s be honest, I’m not exactly like my father. I’m a foul-mouthed Christian Goth New Englander who’s life starts after dark, has an opinion about anything and everything, breaks out in a rash when the sun touches my skin, and would rather get high and marathon seasons of TV shows than exert myself. Believe me, nobody knows just how hard it is to love me like I do, but he does. Sometimes it’s the little things. Little things you don’t realize unless you look at them in perspective. Two stories of such:

When I was a small(ish) lad, for the first 4 years of my academic career, I attended a private school. A private school, full of rich kids, with rich parents, who could afford to take a day off work to chaperone field trips. As I’m pretty sure you’re well aware by now, I was not one of those rich kids. My dad worked two and three jobs at times to provide for us. He couldn’t afford to chaperone, and my mom couldn’t bring my younger brother with. The Amoskeag Fishways changed everything. My dad said he was gonna meet me there if he could get the time off work, and I couldn’t wait. We went to the fishways, and it was so cool, these weird looking fish and so many of them! AND MY DAD CAME! I was a little brat kid, I didn’t understand just how much it meant that he was there with me, all I knew is I got to look at the fish with my dad. It was the best field trip ever, and one of my fondest memories.

And secondly, my father came and saw me in RENT, and he stayed through the whole production, even at the prospect of it running late and him having work in 5 hours after he got home. See, of all the things I said above to describe my dad, “Theatre aficionado” is not one of them. What’s more, this is a man who stopped watching Torchwood because there was too much steamy man-on-man action for him. I was worried it’d be too much for him. Apparently it wasn’t. He had warned me during intermission that he might need to take off because he had work in the morning, and I understood completely, and went through the second act thinking that he was on his way home. Sure enough, the house lights go up, and there he is. There was such a jumble of emotions going through my brain right then, all I could do was hug him and tear up. My dad congratulating me on my stage debut was literally one of the proudest moments of my life, and will be til I breathe my last.

Part of this blog’s rallying cry has always been that suddenly, I’m realizing I’m an adult, but I still don’t have this shit figured out. And that’s ok. I have to think that feeling would only be exacerbated by watching the little boy you helped raise grow so far apart from you. And ultimately, it takes a real father to love that little boy, no matter who he turns into.

I love you, Bubba.


Degrassi Divulges Disrememberance

I had a panic attack today

Not just a little flutter. A Full bore, I need to sit up because my heart just sank in my chest, I can’t breathe, and I have tears streaming down my face, panic attack.

What caused this onset of emotional despair? Who’s been my emotional kryptonite for the last two years? Yup. You guessed it.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s Tarantino this shit.

So, I finally figured out a way to set up my laptop in my room so I could have it hooked up to my TV and it wouldn’t get nudged so it wouldn’t shut off. I’ve been subsisting on Netflix for months now, scavenging all the little dark recesses, catching up on older TV series and finding quirky little documentaries. Now was when the real catch up started.

How does ANY great Josh Fonner TV catch up start? Degrassi. Sorry, wouldn’t be me if I didn’t.

Blah blah blah sappy high school TV show, blah blah blah bringing in a new cast that better mature QUICKLY or I’m gonna backhand every last one of them.

End of the season comes. And out of nowhere, Clare and Eli are talking again.

Admittedly, I tend to attach much more emotion and meaning to characters in shows/movies I watch than the average person. I tend to look for whatever relationship/character matches my own personal headspace/condition at the time. I’ve always had fictional totems. And Clare and Eli have been mine in Degrassi. For a couple years now. I wonder what that timeframe coincides with?

Season Finale, final shots. This graduating class’ “Holiday” (That’s an episode from season 3 that a LOT of loose ends were tied up in). Clare and Eli kiss. And my world starts to spiral.

I understand how melodramatic that sounds, but hear me out. Any other time, my reflex action to seeing Clare and Eli together is thinking of her. And considering the non-state we’re in now, naturally my heart sank. Also a natural response would be to text her. So I reached for the phone, thought better of it and stopped, but then realized it wouldn’t have mattered anyway….I don’t have her number anymore and I don’t remember it.

My heart sank deeper than it has before, and I couldn’t breathe, and it felt like someone was standing on my chest, and the tears started streaming out of my eyes. And this all happened in a matter of SECONDS. Before the credits even rolled, I was gasping.

I sat up, and got ahold of myself, then sat back to dissect what just happened.

I’m losing her, and it’s terrifying me. I’m forgetting little things. Her laugh. The sound of her voice. The way I would feel when I saw her number on my caller ID. Obviously her phone number. I’m starting to lose her face, too.

Part of me doesn’t want this. Part of me is content to hang on to her memory forever, and not have another person I ever fall in love with. The other part of me knows this has to happen if I’m ever gonna be back to good. And each part is seriously ANGRY at the other part.


An Introspective Masturbatory Rant About Compromise

So, I have this friend, who wants to be a stage actor. He heard at some meeting somewhere that there are a lot of casting directors who are checking out people’s Facebooks, and, “and if all they see is partying and vulgarity, they reconsider hiring you.” And this has him seriously considering deleting his FB.

This got me thinking. If you compromise to THAT degree, changing who you are, what you say, what you do OUTSIDE of your career, FOR your career, is it really YOUR career?

Think of it this way, say you REALLY like fried chicken, but you’re considering going to Taco Bell. So, you drive all the way to Taco Bell, take a look at the menu, realized that Taco Bell is not actually what you want, and say to the cashier, “I’m sorry, I was more looking for fried chicken.”

Is that Taco Bell cashier going to say, “Well, it just so happens to be your lucky day, we’re just changing our menu over, and we just so happen to only sell fried chicken!”? FUX NO! The cashier’s gonna give you a funny look and calmly explain that they don’t sell fried chicken.

And that’s not your fault, it’s not Taco Bell’s fault, you just weren’t a fit. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because there’s gonna be a Popeye’s or a KFC right down the road, who’d be more than willing to sell you some delicious fried chicken.

And what’s more, if the impossible did happen, and you got a 10 piece bucket of wings and thighs from Taco Bell, would you REALLY be eating Taco Bell? Or is it just fried chicken at a taco joint?

Now that I’ve gotten everyone sufficiently hungry, what’s the point to all this? Much like Taco Bell, KFC, or Popeye’s, you are a BRAND. Everything you do, say, and create, every person you interact with is an extension of your brand. If you compromise who you are, what your brand is, in such a way, that that compromise must bleed to your personal life, and not just for professional decorum, is it really your brand? Is it really you? And in that same line, would whatever art you create as a part of that be able to be considered genuine?

I personally believe the answer is no. I am my brand, for better or worse. Ronin, theronin23, Macabre Productions, Josh Fonner, it’s me. And I just don’t think I can compromise my sense of self like that just to be famous, make a name for myself in the more conventional sense, or create. 

Basically, if you’re lookin’ for Chalupas, I’m your man. Chicken strips? KFC’s that way, chief.


Maison Macabre, or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying About Being Called Hipster and Embraced the Warhol

I’m becoming more and more interested in Andy Warhol.
Not in the man himself, but what he accomplished with The Factory.

I envision Maison Macabre/Macabre Productions to one day be my own “Factory” (My ULTIMATE plan, which *gasp*…did that just leak out to the world for the first time? XD).

It all stems from the idea that I just want to spend the rest of my life having adventures with my friends. Making art (in any form) is an adventure, at least in my opinion. Adventure is best had with as many friends as possible.

Here’s where this comes from. I’m far too ADHD to pin myself to JUST directing movies. I want my hands in everything I have a knack for. Art in it’s most “Classically defined” form is not my bag. I have the dexterity and hand-eye coordination of a drunken walrus. I can’t draw, paint, sculpt, digitally create art, or generally produce anything on paper or canvas. Sausage fingers do not an artist make. But I have friends that do all of the above!

I can’t CREATE music (I can certainly RE-create it if I try hard enough), but I have friends that do!

So, I figure, If I can write, direct, be a mouthpiece, make people laugh, and produce and star in spoken word shows (podcasts, radio, etc.), and generally be myself? My amazing friends and I will be all set to Andy Warhol the living fuck out of this place (“this place” being the ENTIRE PLANET)


Without further ado, The 2011 Joshy Awards!

So sorry for the delay. This is for 2011 Movies. Comments? Think my taste sucks? Lemme know!


10. Melancholia
9. The Beaver
8. Super
7. Red State
6. I Melt With You
5. Trust
4. Hesher
3. Drive
2. 50/50
1. Rubber



Mama Who Bore Me

So, today I got called out by mom. She calls me out for this every year, but there was a bit of a dare attached to it this year.

I’m one of these assholes that hates buying cards. I think the greeting card industry is one of the more superfluous big businesses in America. I mean, for fuck’s sake, I’m an artist. I can write pages about a drug addict and a zombie hunting cannibals and chupacabra. I can express the very depths of my soul and expose everything that I am to the entire world. I can lay bare my insecurities, and tell the world I don’t have this shit figured out, but that’s ok, I’m working on it. But I gotta go pay 5 bucks for a piece of cardstock some dude got paid to arrange some words in such a trite and cliche manner that when paired with some lace, frills, the right font, and a pretty design, may elicit emotion?

Fuck that noise.

What’s more, fuck that noise if you’re NOT an artist. ESPECIALLY if you’re not an artist, because those words in that card are probably not words that you would have ever come up with on your own.

Remember macaroni art and stick figures? Big lopsided hand drawn hearts? Fingerpainted pictures with big smushed together letters that read “ILOVEYUO”? Construction paper hearts that weren’t perfectly cut out, with doilies glued to them? That’s the real shit. That’s art. That’s heartfelt. But, we get older, and we see stuff. Artists actualizing their potential. People better at expressing how they feel than we are. So, we somehow get this idea in our head that because someone can sum up our feelings better, we should allow them to do it. That instead of giving our mother macaroni art at 18-24, you can go out to wal-mart and buy a pretty card.

I say nay-nay.

Here’s what it boils down to. As of right now, I don’t have much in the way of accomplishment under my belt. YET. And if we’re being entirely honest, that’s what I’ve been waiting for. Because she knows I love her. I tell her all the time. It’s just a matter of holding out til I have something new for her to be proud of to include with said expression.

I know in my heart that at least one of my films is going to be inspired somehow by my mother. It’s a foregone conclusion. Family is one of the top 5 sources of inspiration for any artist, whether it be good or bad.

While I know that just like that macaroni art, or that heart-shaped rock, anything that heartfelt is going to mean a great deal; in the grand scheme of things, what I say right now isn’t going to mean nearly as much as when I present my mother with a private screening of a film that’s dedicated to her and the many things I’ve learned from and because of her in my life. When she sees her name up there in the special thanks section, or dedicated to section of a film written and directed by Josh Fonner. And I know she may say different. She has to. She’s gonna say that heart-shaped rock means just as much as a film dedicated to her, but let’s be honest here, it’s ok to be more proud of one than the other, which is what I’m expecting.

So here mum, for this year, this is my Hallmark card. This is me telling you that I’d be completely lost without you. That you’ve had a hand in a good 85% of who I am. That my sense of humor, writing style, and personality in general wouldn’t be what they are, hell, who I am as a person would simply NOT BE if it weren’t for you. So…I mean…for right now…that’s really all I’ve got that you can show for 24 years of work. Do with it what you will. I love you.


Thank God this moment’s not the last.

The Surfside Player’s 2012 production of RENT is officially in the can. So, ready or not, time for a Spatter Pattern debrief.

So, our final performance was a matinee. 2pm Sunday. Our previous two matinees had less than 100 people each. Sunday? We had 150. In all, over the course of the production, over 900 people saw me and my new found friends sing and dance our hearts out.

Bittersweet is the biggest understatement of the feelings that were coursing through me as we took our final bows. The entire second act was rough for us all emotionally. In particular, during I’ll Cover You (Reprise) (The funeral scene). Jesse (our Mark) has this bit of monologue, he takes center stage and basically gives part of a eulogy. I could hear his voice cracking as he was giving it. His monologue ends, and he turns around. His face was beet red and streaming with tears. I lost it. I said I had cried before after the whole Becky thing, but this? Wow. Just wow. I don’t like to allow myself to be seen like that in public, let alone on stage. It was probably one of the most REAL moments I’ve ever been a part of.

So, I’ve caught the bug. Officially. As long as 1) I have the time/resources and 2) there are directors out there brave enough to put me on a stage, I’ll be there.

If it doesn’t seem too self-indulgent, I’d like to end this blog post detailing what I’m thankful for in regards to this experience:

First and foremost, to the director, stage manager, and music director: Words can’t begin to express how grateful I am that you were willing to cast EXTREMELY outside the norm for this show. Not only taking a chance on a theatre virgin, but one so…outside of normal aesthetics. Also, thank you for being patient with me during rehearsals as I was finding my singing voice. I really hope I get to work with you all again at some point.

To the band: Out of anything that happened, something that struck me the most was how honest and transparent you all were with us. And you listened to all of us bitch incessantly without telling us to shut up!

Finally, to my cast-mates: What can I say? I walked into a room full of people I had never met in my life a month and a half ago, and stood arm in arm with a stage full of family as we took our final bows on Sunday afternoon. I love all of you. Some of you may have noticed the fact that I’m not exactly as confident as I let on, but being around you all made it where that didn’t matter. You accepted me. Where I was, for who I was. This fact will NEVER be lost on me. My most sincere prayer is that we always have AT LEAST what we’ve had these past 6-8 weeks. I hope to work with all of you again at some point, and truth be told, if all goes according to plan, I’m banking on the fact that at SOME point, after film school, I will.

This feels like I’m writing the last page of a chapter. The epilogue of a short story in my life. I look forward to seeing how these characters and lessons learned crop up elsewhere.

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