Monday, December 31, 2007

2007, your time's up

I've missed New Haven, particularly the delectable Bar pizza I ate last night, but besides my family and a handful of friends, I don't miss Wallyworld at all. And I'm hoping when I leave my cold won't follow me back to LA.

Today is the last day of 2007. A good day for a wrap-up. I know I've promised a show on January 2, but it just may not happen. I've had some "technical difficulties" and have been working on borrowed computers and borrowed time. The winners will get some kind of show, but it may be belated and it will probably only be a script of the dream show I imagined. It's hard to bring your vision to life without a reliable crew.

Anyhow. It's been a pretty good year. I've traveled through about half of the United States, driving up and down the east coast twice, and across the country once. I've read a whole heap load of books (can't tell you exactly how many) but some of them were pretty great... I'll make a top ten list when I can get into my computer again. And the movies - well, they'll get their own nominations in the New Year. I like the wrap-ups and top ten lists, probably because I'm an argumentative person, and they always give me a chance to vehemently disagree.

I saw several movies this week: P.S. I Love You, Walk Hard, Sweeney Todd, and I Am Legend. None of these films really broke the mold, but they all had their moments of worth. You don't know, but this is supermagnanimous of me. I Am Legend had the good fortune of being carried on Will Smith's exceedingly capable shoulders. It's no 28 Days Later, but it's not entirely predictable (unless you've read the book), which you can't really say about the other holiday fare.
I'm not really going to do a breakdown of the films' qualities and downfalls. I will merely say that Paul Rudd's impersonation of John Lennon is worth the 10 dollar ticket and we are reminded that John C Reilly has one of the best singing voices in Hollywood, Sweeney has alot of fine things about it, particularly the acting, but the buckets of blood look like paint, and P.S. I Love You is vastly better than the superficial stupid book, but that's only because Gerard Butler and Jeffrey Dean Morgan could easily rule the world if the rest of the world were made up only of straight women and gay men. We would all happily be their slaves.
Just a head's up.

Also, my lack of pumpkin consumption in the last week has been a crime. A CRIME. Hopefully, this will be rectified in the new year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

tragic day

Benazir Bhutto was a symbol of hope for Pakistan, and her death is a tragedy, so soon after returning to Pakistan after her long exile. I can't even talk about this. I'm so depressed about this. It's devastating.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve in LA; Christmas here

I tried to write a post from the airport the other night, but I got logged off the Internet (stupid T-Mobile). Long, long travel experience, and an even longer, sleepier Christmas Eve. And while it's two minutes from Christmas here in the winter wonderland that is southern Connecticut, it's still Christmas Eve in LA.

I'm guessing no miracles will happen to me in the next three hours, though.

I did finish Anansi Boys, rec'd to me by an ex-student. And a fine rec it was too. If you like books, read it. If you like spiders, or boys, or African legends, read it. If you like London or karaoke, read it. If you dislike violet, read it. Basically, you should just read it.

Watched No Reservations on the airplane. Ho hum. Though I didn't like Mostly Martha much either, and the people who loved MM hated No Reservations, so all I have to say is, Catherine Zeta-Jones is very pretty, and Abigail Breslin is probably going to be an odd-looking adult.

Have a merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

sheer volume

Outlining and passion help. So does having nothing else to do. I've typed about 20 pages in the last 24 hours (written a bit more). For me, that's a lot.

I find it helps to write a section in another time or place and then rewrite it on my computer and not really look at what I wrote earlier. The writing the first time is just to get the dialogue and action down, so I don't forget the idea. When I get to my computer, the idea has had time to evolve and imprint itself in my brain. The bit that I wrote earlier almost always changes.

I'm a little over halfway done with the spec pilot for this drama miniseries I'm writing, and I know the exact story arcs for two parts, sort of the story arcs for two more parts, and am still outlining the fifth. It's actually really really exciting. I hope someday it gets made. It's going to have four acts (maybe five) and a teaser and probably six episodes. One for before the event (about 4 years), one for the beginning, two for the event, one for the end of the event, and one for an aftermath sort of thing (maybe to bookend, another 4 years after, not sure). Maybe only five episodes. I haven't really broken it down. But let me tell you - it will be great TV.

OK, so

Dallas was never at the top of my list of places to move. And now it's at the bottom. Right above Yellowstone.

Of course, I pretty much live on an active fault line right now, soo...

Merry December 23rd!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Discovery Channel

Having just watched the Supervolcano dramatization, which they then reassure us is an unlikely event in our lifetime, I am now going to watch Perfect Disaster, which might as well be called Supertornado, as it's a dramatization of major tornado hitting Dallas. Which is, in fact, an inevitability.


You know the tornado is coming when the wind chimes start going crazy. And things aren't fine when people are running late but are supposedly fine.


Oh, hell. Fish.

Example 4,765,413 of Global Warming

Tropical diseases in Italy.

Well, this is embarrassing

So much of high school would have been better if my parents listened to decent music.

If you had asked me YESTERDAY if I liked Bush (the band), I would have shrugged my shoulders and said, "Don't think so," not because I had hear Bush and didn't like the music, but because I was fairly certain I had never even heard a Bush song.
And I would have been wrong because, in fact, I've probably heard "Glycerine," "Machinehead," and "Comedown" about a thousand times on the radio. And enjoyed listening to those songs. And can sing along with them. But I never realized who they were by, or even that they were older, established songs (as opposed to the new Seether song that's always on the radio), until literally five minutes ago.

I now understand why Gavin Rossdale is/was hot.

I hate that I've only really begun to cultivate an appreciation of 90s alt rock and grunge over the past couple of years. How I eventually started listening to the Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots years after their heyday causes me nearly as much shame as the above-mentioned anecdote.
I think I would have listened to them back in the 90s, but I was never exposed to it, and the guys in my high school who listened to those bands scared the crap out of me. So I figured grunge was something really badass that would just be guys screaming and revving chainsaws, like metal, but dirtier.
All I got at home was light pop and country, which I didn't particularly like, but I thought the only alternative was hard core rap and metal. I did manage to find the Sneaker Pimps in high school, but they're still a bit obscure, and while I liked Garbage, I never loved them. And then we have Radiohead - which I only realized wasn't the same things as Rage Against the Machine or Metallica a few years ago - despite owning the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack for a very, very long time.

On the plus side, I never liked Peter Cetera, even though I have his CD. Really, it's amazing I survived my mother's musical tastes.
My only pride is that I liked Remy Zero before anyone I know (including you, Zach Braff) and I have never regretted my love for U2, Oasis, or Motown. Or Seal even. Eminem, though, I think had maybe three decent songs that will manage to not be looked back on with disdain and considerable amounts of snark. Also, while Dave Matthews Band has several fine songs, the absolute obsession kids had with DMB (and several of my generation still do) is just disturbing.

OK, so if anyone would like to improve my catalog, please do make some suggestions. I've officially stopped being a snob because while Mahler, the Beatles and Lauryn Hill are nothing to be ashamed of, I have clearly missed some important music along the way. I still don't like metal, hard-core rap, or country that's not Johnny Cash. Please educate me in a post below.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I don't get SAG. Sure, I had problems with Atonement. But Saoirse Ronan should have been a lock, certainly over Ruby Dee. As should have Philip Seymour Hoffman for any and every movie he's been in this year (maybe, one Hoffman role hurt the other?). And where's Lost and FNL? What's with the Boston Legal obsession? And Tony Shalhoub's constant nominations?

Also, the leading man category for films just seems wrong, particularly Viggo's nod (is it because of the naked fight? is that going to be the new prerequisite for a SAG nod?). I have to see a few more movies before I can be sure, but I'm fairly certain it's just not right.
And, Hairspray? Really?

Oo-de-lally, golly what a day!

Got a job, a real adult-person job! With health insurance and other brilliant benefits! And co-workers! Who seem super-nice! And it's closer to home! So not really any more money (what w/ taxes and all), but a cut in gas prices! And gas is cheaper in Burbank! Oo-de-lally!

Merry Christmas to me. I hope you get something nice this holiday, too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the EPA can eat me

The EPA decided California doesn't have the right to have a more stringent emissions policy than the rest of the nation.

According to the LA Times, "The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution, not a confusing patchwork of state rules," EPA Administrator Johnson said.

This is funny. Really funny. Being a Republican is supposed to be about putting states' rights ahead of national rights. So if California wants to implement a stricter law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it should be able to. And it's allowed under the Clean Air Act.
The EPA and the Bush Administration should be ashamed. There's no way Johnson's ruling will hold up in Court. And they probably know that. They're just stalling to keep the auto industry happy. Douches.

Christian Scientists need a copy editor

There's a church of Christian Science near my work in the Palisades. Out front is a sign announcing the week's sermon topic, usually something pleasant like "Muslims are evil" or "why that whole 'give unto Caesar' thing is a total crock." This week's however is about knocking evolution and "atomic fource."

Maybe I'm being "snobby" and "anal," but if you're going to go head-to-head with the evolutionists and want to be taken seriously, learn how to spell first.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Best thing I did today

I was a busy bee today. Actually, I was a busy human being today. No bee could have survived the kind of day I had.

But the best part of my day. I bought cranberry juice.

I am addicted to cranberry juice, and when I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe's this blessed evening, I didn't buy any because I'm not a TJ Cra-J kinda gal. My numero uno is Nantucket Nectars, and, foregoing that, Ocean Spray Cranberry-Raspberry. The latter of which I just bought at Ralph's on the way home from a job interview.

I haven't had any to drink, but I am content knowing it's there, chilling in the frigidaire.

I blame my Cra-J addiction on Yale. As a Master's Aide, I often brought bottles of the cheap storebrand Cra-J from the back room of the master's house. The place was practically swimming in the stuff, and it was cheap, sweet, and yummy. Also, the dining halls always had Ocean spray Cra-J, which I often diluted with the Minute Maid (?) pink lemonade or some other red juice I can't remember. Delicious combination. Sometimes I added ginger ale of Sprite for good measure.
I miss Yale dining. The make-your-own waffles, the occasional chocolate chip scones (you had to hunt those mo-fos down), the Oreo dessert bars (truly horrid but an addiction), the grass-fed burgers, the decidedly not grass-fed chicken patties, the tri-color tortellini (always half-frozen, half scalding), and the ever-faithful salad bar.
I also miss Durfee's, which, when I was craving juice and couldn't break into the dining hall for the night (Master's Aides could thanks to key privileges), I would grab a raspberry lemonade from the Durf. I can never find that raspberry lemonade anymore (it was some kind of brandname "Twister" -- where have you gone, dream drink??!!) but I often think of it. If Durfee was closed, we went to Gourmet Heaven, which wasn't really heaven or gourmet, but I believe still has Joseph's delicious flax pitas, introduced me to Lorina sparkling lemonade (mmm) and is open at inhuman hours.

Yaaaaaaaale!!!!! I'm coming back to the Have soon, baby.

raindrops keep falling on LA

You may have noticed yesterday's comments on Charlie Wilson's War were cursory at best and didn't synopsize the movie (it's about Congressman Charlie Wilson using his infinite charm and wit to raise funding for Afghanis to kick Soviet ass) or act much in the way of a review.


It's frigging pouring in LA. Pouring. Angelenos don't know how to drive in the rain. Which is actually why traffic wasn't tooo bad tonight. No one left their homes, and presumably a good number of worker bees decided to spend the night in their offices.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War

So, you're probably wondering, does Tom Hanks redeem himself after doing The Da Vinci Code? Does Aaron Sorkin redeem himself after Studio 60? Does Philip Seymour Hoffman continue to rock our argyle socks off? Is Emily Blunt's unnatural Southern tan (not to mention accent) distracting but not in a totally bad way?
The answer to all of the above is a resounding "You betcha."

But Julia Roberts is smugly herself in a role that doesn't ask for anything more. And the weird battle scenes are a mixture of yesterday's footage and some really odd video game massacre tech.

Aaron Sorkin provided some wise words tonight. Put two people together and have them argue. You'll be in a good place. Not a bad idea to have Bill Goldman be your mentor either (recognize, I'm only calling him Bill because Sorkin did, not because I'm disrespectful).

Also, you can (almost) always park on Genesee.

A Monday that feels like a Friday

Today is a Monday. That feels like a Friday.


ah, voting...

OK, so this is not a real awards thing of any kind, and I was just gonna kind of choose the winners myself. But the world changes, so if you'd like to vote, go ahead and post your picks in the comments of this or the previous post. You have til Christmas to vote, and you can't be anonymous.
You don't have to vote in all categories, but you can only vote once, and you can't write in a candidate. Not that I don't think there aren't loads of deserving nominees I didn't pick, but I only picked characters I had seen in TV series I had seen at least half a season of in the last year (sorry, HBO).

Uh, that's it.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

in which we announce our nominations for The First Annual Little Miss Nomad Ovations (or LMNOs) in Television

The winners (who don't actually win anything because I don't have a way of contacting and giving them anything, though I would be more than willing to construct some kind of art deco award should someone come forward) will be announced on January 2nd.

I've put Chuck is in both drama and comedy (consider the actors' primary roles) and Californication in comedy (even though it's pretty dark) because that's how the LMNOs work. Don't question the system, man.

The nominees for the year 2007 (anything airing from January through December 2007 on American TV or BBC America...)

Best Actor in a Comedic Role are:
Zachary Levi (Chuck)
Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies)

Best Actress in a Comedic Role are:
America Ferrera (Ugly Betty)
Jordana Spiro (My Boys)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies)
Jenna Fischer (The Office)

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedic Role
Jim Gaffigan (My Boys)
Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine)
Neil Patrick Harris (HIMYM)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedic Role
Alyson Hannigan (HIMYM)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)
Judy Reyes (Scrubs)

Best Comedy
The Office
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
30 Rock
Ugly Betty
How I Met Your Mother
Aliens in America

Best Drama
Mad Men
Brothers & Sisters
Friday Night Lights

Best Actress in a Dramatic Role
Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Glenn Close (Damages)
Calista Flockhart (Brothers & Sisters)
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives)

Best Actor in a Dramatic Role
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Kyle Chandler (FNL)
Michael C Hall (Dexter)
James Nesbitt (Jekyll)
Hugh Laurie (House)

Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Role
Ted Danson (Damages)
Jesse Plemons (FNL)
Zach Gilford (FNL)
Jack Coleman (Heroes)
Zelijo Ivanek (Damages)

Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Role
Elizabeth Montgomery (Lost)
Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters)
Adrianne Palicki (FNL)
Connie Britton (FNL)
Rose Byrne (Damages)

Best TV Period
"The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby" (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
Planet Earth
"Through the Looking Glass" (Lost)
Mad Men
Friday Night Lights

(I just noticed that my list is almost exclusively white. I apologize for that, but my list doesn't change.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Go on, then, I dare you

I submitted a dare to Vanity Fair. Read it here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

in which we make space travel look even more foreboding than usual

Traffic tonight was other-worldly.

If, of course, on another world, December 14th was a holiday on which cars congregated en masse on every possible inch of LA roadway to indulge in a trunk-fucking orgy the likes of which would even frighten Bacchus.

UN Climate talks

I've been watching/reading about the progression of the Bali talks over the past few days, and I wish cudgeling in defense of the environment wasn't a crime.

This from the AP today.

"Trying to break the deadlock, the conference president, Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar, proposed revised language dropping explicit mention of numbers while substituting a reference to a U.N. scientific report suggested the 25-40 percent range of cuts.
Witoelar's proposal provided a basis for a long-expected compromise, producing a relatively vague mandate for the two years of negotiations. As worded, his draft "Bali Roadmap" would not guarantee any level of binding commitment by any nation."

If it's not binding, then who's going to do it? You know, besides all the reasonable nations who are already on board, anyhow?

The other problem is LDCs. By giving China, Brazil, India, and most of Africa a break on following the same protocols as the wealthier nations, we're only hurting them. I understand incentives are being provided to encourage the LDCs to voluntarily curb the growth of their emissions. But if it's not in their short-term best financial interest, will they do it? America is certainly refusing.

I can't see the sense in making these reductions voluntary. If America doesn't do it, and it (excepting of course the several dozen cities that adopted the Kyoto protocol on their own) won't unless the UN makes us, why would developing countries do any differently? The only way to become a rich and powerful country is to mimic one. We're setting an amazingly bad example.

I love my grandmother but when I talk to her about things like how Uganda will be unable to grow coffee anymore if temperatures rise the 2 degrees they will in the next 50-80 years, she just mentions how she read a report 30 years ago that said Florida would be under water today. How depressing is it that the only way for some people to understand what we're dealing with is to wait until tragedy actually strikes, until Florida is completely underwater or whatever they need for PROOF. And by then it will be too late. And half the naysayers will be dead or certain that it was inevitable and not our fault.

The Europeans recognize that our government is self-serving and idiotic. Who do we think we are? Sovereignty is all well and good, but pollution knows no borders and what we do here can cause eco-chaos for the entire globe. Our environmental policy cannot be a national right, it has to be international. Or we're inviting war (eco-crises lead to reduction of essential resources and people will, by nature, form packs, defend what little they have, and take what others have by any means necessary).

Hell, Olympia Snowe, a Senator from Maine my grandparents support, thinks we have to step up and do the right thing here. But Bush isn't listening to his own party. And that means the EU may pack up their toys and go home, making the Honolulu MEMs in January all but pointless.

I can't friggin wait until we get a new executive branch. I hope the next president has the good sense to make Al in charge of all future US environmental policy. I would.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Columbus Circle

The holiday market is, I'm sure, in full swing. And I wonder if that booth that sells nothing but truffles is still there? I've never had such delicious chocolates. If anyone knows if they're still around and wants to send me some, just drop me a line.

I hear 15 CPW is finally opening stores. I remember nothing but construction there through Christmas of last year. I'm a bit disappointed they've decided to take the Best Buy route. We're talking the Lincoln Center neighborhood! Open up some better restaurants, why don't you? Or something to compliment the YMCA around the corner. A child-friendly place in Columbus Circle/Lincoln Center is sorely lacking, which is strange, since there are a ton of kids in the area.

I miss NYC just a wee bit.

Ben Lee

I'd just like to say thanks to the fine people at Metromix, who deemed my email ravings about how I never get to go out (screenings don't count) and love "Cigarettes Will Kill You" worthy of two free tickets to last night's show at the El Rey and a copy of his new CD.

I like the El Rey. It's small, but not The Bitter End small. Cary Brothers and some girl from One Tree Hill, who was trying way too hard, opened the show. I like Cary, though...

Ben Lee was brilliant. Great showman, practically bleeding funny, self-deprecating, elfin charm. I felt not a bit self-conscious about my hair. He didn't sing the song I love, but he did "Gamble Everything for Love," "Catch My Disease," "We're All in This Together," "Float On," a funny song from his new album called "What Would Jay-Z Do," "Sex Without Love," and "American Television," which he dedicated, quite rightly, to Alan Thicke. He also did this hilarious riff on Snakes on a Plane and happened to mention How I Met Your Mother, one of the DVDs on his bus that he had watched (they finished all the DVDs and had no choice but to watch the Sam Jackson madness), which was funny because Josh Radnor was in the crowd - second time I've seen him since moving to LA. Man has over-sized features perfect for actors. Cute but a little... doll-like? It's weird.

Anyhow, I'm going to stop mentioning celeb sightings soon. Real soon. What was weird, though, was this 6 degrees of separation thing going on. Ben mentioned Josh's show. Did he know he was there? Maybe they know each other through Mandy Moore, who duets on one of Ben's songs on "Ripe" and guested on HIMYM. Also, hanging out with Josh - Busy Phillips, who was on Freaks & Geeks with Jason Segel from HIMYM. Jason wasn't there (I don't think), but I couldn't help but think about the connections.

And that's it. Unless I hook up with *y** ****ing or get a job in the biz, I'm not going to bore you with anymore celeb crap.

From now on it's just books, travel, writing thoughts, reviews, and self-therapy. Ain't you lucky?

Paul Haggis Explains It All

Read his post at United Hollywood.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

if you want to see Arctic ice, better head north now

Read here. I hope there's some kind of Dark Ages torture for all the idiots and villains who continue to deny the existence of global warming and that our actions can help or hinder the planet.

very happening day

An eventful few hours after weeks of eventlessness.

Went to Palisades early b/c I was supposed to do some Current work in Venice in the afternoon. Boss decided to go on CNN instead. So I decided to do some Christmas shopping to kill time before my date. Bought gifts for my stepdad and sister and some cupcakes at Sprinkles.
Then I went to Little Ethiopia and sat outside a Starbucks on Olympia and Fairfax to do some outlining for a project I'm doing, and just as I finish writing this accident scene, a cop car comes wailing down Fairfax and someone speeding down Olympia, and I could see the accident before it even happened. They slammed into each other and the cop car was going so fast, it hit another two cars in oncoming traffic that had stopped. All about 20 feet from where I was. The cop and the latter two cars' drivers seemed not too badly hurt, and I didn't realize the guy in the first car was still in there until the paramedics came, and I remembered I have First Aid training and should have offered my services. Luckily, the ambulance came pretty damn quickly.
Then my friend finally came and we went to a restaurant where I saw an old editor of mine from Yale, who I only just realized lives in LA like two days ago.
Then went to the Grove in hopes of seeing some fake snow. Just saw Katie Holmes and Suri instead.

Also, have new job prospects.

Com or Org - You Decide

The WGA-ers with nothing to do besides massage their aching leg muscles have created, not to be confused with

I suggest you check out both. If only the AMPTP could spoof the WGA - well, that's like saying, if only dogs could be dentists.

Atonement is very, very pretty.

Monday, December 10, 2007

strange daze

It's been a strange weekend. Productive in parts. Inspiring and devastating at the same time. Christmas always makes me nervous because I can't be happy about something that is annually impermanent. Where's the joy in that? And that's why I have trouble with things that are good but must end. And everything ends.

OK, I was going to go on with that for a bit, but that's too personal, and I already know I'm going to regret this blog someday.

Tomorrow (or I guess today) I commence with a new writing project about which I am very excited, though I kind of wish I had a good drama writing partner to help me because it's going to be, dare I say it, epic. And awesome. Hopefully.

Finished crap Irish romance and am now onto better stuff. Crap Irish romance is really abysmal in terms of prose style, crap characters, and uninteresting plotting (for the most part, though to be fair there are some decent bits), but I'm still probably going to go see the movie.
I'm a girl. What do you want?

Finished Once and Again. Am savagely depressed. Partly because there's no more, mostly because I really enjoyed Julia Whelan and Eric Stoltz, and they didn't get nearly enough time together. And neither have done much since. Frick, man.

Saw 3:10 to Yuma. Crowe's a cad, and Bale's brilliant. Fun had by all. Then saw Christian Bale in the flesh. I think he's a Santa Monica resident, God bless him, and he came to the marathon at the Aero. Funny and smart in person and dealt graciously with the obsessive fandom (the guy next to me was a Christian fundamentalist in the bad pun sense of the term) and typical stupid questions. I stopped myself from asking if he was going to follow up Terminator with Rambo or RoboCop.

Santa Monica has Joe's Pizza. Thank the Western gods.

Worked hard today on project but may have not done such a great job. Will find out not too long from now. Cross your punchy little fingers...

And good night.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My sister's photo

Pretty damn good, eh?

you'd be furious, too

This little blurb is from the Creative Screenwriting Magazine bulletin.

"Dec. 4-The summer blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is released on DVD. If it does as well as Dead Man's Chest (which had almost $5 million in sales its first day on the shelves), long-time Pirates scribes Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio can expect a little less than $6,700 in writing residuals under the current system."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Elliott Gould just got really old

He was in a retirement home fight club on Private Practice.

While I have no desire to go on welfare, I wouldn't mind being on the dole.

Also, I need to drink more water.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

strange things happening

I had a vicious migraine yesterday, so much so that when I tried to eat food, my skull felt like it was actually constricting and I had to stop.

It might come back. I think I'm spending too much time on this here computer thingy.

Strangeness: I have yet to meet a real live person who loved No Country for Old Men as much as I do. Who loves it despite its obvious flaws. And Tommy Lee Jones being the same guy he always is.
I don't really understand this.
And I have a horrid feeling that these same people are going to love Juno.
Maybe it's a matter of tone - what rings false to some rings true to others. I don't know.

I am pleased to hear Katie Heigl doesn't love Knocked Up. Because as great as Judd Apatow is, he doesn't do much for women in comedy. Leslie Mann's excellent in that movie, but even her best scene isn't about her, it's about the doorman. In his movies, we're the "straight men" or the shrews. We don't get to be funny. Or very interesting for that matter. It's ok, though. If Shakespeare was allowed to create less than awesome female characters, I guess Judd can too.
I say this, of course, having just dissed Juno. But I'm not being hypocritical. I'm almost certain!

Great joke I came up with this morning, but I don't have a story to put it in, so I'm throwing it into the Intervoid.

Guy: "Do I look like someone who prejudges a person based on appearances?"

It might take a minute to get. Which is why I'm not sure it can ever be used in TV - or anywhere. But it's smart... ish.

I had another joke, but I'm having trouble wording it. It goes (kinda) like this:

Little girl: What's a Thunderbird?
Twenty-somthing hipster boy: Something a Thundercat eats for breakfast.

That's gotta been done, right? No?

I'm lonely. Gonna go read garbage Irish chick lit (and then, when that's done, Proust).

Monday, December 3, 2007


Great quote.
Aliens in America

"Say what you will about military dictatorships, at least we're consistent." - Raja

First, the good news...

My pilot "Lucy Moreau: World-Famous Explorer" was a semi-finalist at Slamdance. Hooray! Not bad for my first spec pilot ever.

Bad news... the finalists were announced today, and I'm not one. I'm not surprised. I reread what I submitted them, and it was a horror of structural troubles. So no Park City, Utah this year. It's all good now, but I rushed it off too quickly right after moving to LA. Live and learn.

Maybe next year.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

my crazy Christmas list

This is what I would like for Christmas:

a waffle iron
waffles not to have calories, like celery, or celery to taste like waffles
an egg separator (apparently you're not supposed to do it w/ egg shells b/c of bacteria -- oops)
my feet not to get cold
my hair to make a similarly stunning transformation as Ashley Tisdale's did from Once and Again to now
to forget I know who Ashley Tisdale is
stuff to do with my career, health, my personal life and global warming
a bed frame complete with a mattress that isn't too short for me
the writers' strike to be over and the writers' asses to be all chapped from all the kissing from suddenly enlightened and apologetic producers
a little enlightenment of my own
maybe some Proust?

Friday, November 30, 2007

things I would tell you if you were here now

I've been watching Once and Again on Youtube, and I gotta say, Julia Whelan's character is a more real teenager than Juno or any of the other characters you see on screen nowadays, and that includes the kids of Superbad (though I think that's close-ish) and FNL, which I love, but is still surreal. Grace Manning is just a fantastic character.

Had an OK day. Monday could be a great day, or it could be a sucky day. I'm going to go out on a limb and test the universe's love for me and say it's going to be an awesome day.

Rained alot. Fear it might be too muddy for hiking tomorrow. My shoes can't take any more mud.

I have all Johnny Lang's covers of Wilson Pickett's music because I'm young and stupid. Not that Lang isn't great. But I wish I had the Pickett first.

A friend of mine, Matthieu Cornillon was the bartender on the episode of 30 Rock last week and got to hand Alec Baldwin a "Nancy Drew." I'm so proud. Go Matthieu!

Oddly enough, two people I know, one, vaguely, from high school, and one from college are (or were) both up for roles in a major upcoming film. I'm pretty sure my high school acquaintance (I graduated the same year as his loser bro) didn't get it, but there's a shot the acquaintance from college did. On a basic animal level, I hate both of them. Why?

I had a great idea for a sculpture today. Too bad I can't sculpt. I wonder if that's what's going on with all those people who post to Craig's list claiming they have great ideas for stories, but can't write them. Argh. Maybe I'll just describe my sculpture in a story.

my mother is the awesomest

She sent me an advent calendar (I love advent calendars) that she made with little pictures of family on the day tags. How amazing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grace is Gone is Good (but not Great)

I saw it at the WGA Tuesday night, and it's a charming small film that rides along largely on the chops of the actors. Otherwise, it's fairly unremarkable in terms of originality. Maybe that's not a bad thing. And I didn't not like it. So... there's no problem with the movie. It's quite good... Maybe I'm just irritated that Strouse's way of breaking into the business was to marry a producer. How annoying is that?

Made crud pancakes last night. OK, not crud. But I usually get the healthy pancake mix, not the one I got at the grocery store the other day. So my pancakes taste saltier than I'm used to.

I think my Bank of America drama is being resolved finally. But yesterday I was a wreck.

Am reading The United States of Arugula.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

but this made me feel better

kati's really wretched day

horrid horrid day following dreams of being shot in the leg and exposed to plague while sans proper health insurance.

not that it would have been a good day had there been better dreams.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Leftovers and such

My friend from high school, E, is killer with the foodstuffs, particularly the pumpkin chocolate chip bread she sent me home with - and I've managed not to devour it! Really had a splendid Saturday Thanksgiving feast at her gorgeous San Jose apartment, but a six hour drive was not joy-inducing. If my sister hadn't come with me across the country, I doubt I would have made Ohio. It's friggin awful alone.
But of the little I saw of it, San Jose was pretty cool. It's a pretty low key place for a population of near a mil.
Bought some Xmas gifts on Santana Row, which I can ill afford, but whatev.
I wanted to go to the Winchester Mystery House, but I'd have to take out another loan to afford the ticket.
Was without laptop for three days. Painful. Especially since I just started watching Once and Again on Youtube. Soapiness, thy name is -- well, that show.

Let's compare Billy Campbell then to Billy Campbell now in The 4400.

Rick Sammler v. Jordan Collier. Discuss.
Have a free ticket to go see Grace is Gone at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills tomorrow night. Excitement!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksitting.

Hiked the whole Coldwater Canyon trail after spending the morning watching the parade. Boring, boring parade. Then came home, smelling like a healthy person (i.e., sweaty). Then watched Meet the Robinsons and ate like a fat person. Meet the Robinsons is pretty great considering how quickly it vanished from theaters.
Now I'm making biscuits for my weekend Thanksgiving in San Jose and watching The Princess Diaries for maybe the 40th time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

weird dream you won't care about

I had the weirdest dream in the last hour. First, I was at the grocery store and when I went back to my car, I had a parking ticket because apparently I had parked in a handicapped space in the dark and not noticed (this was after getting a red ticket as a receipt for my groceries) and so there was a note on the car that said to come into the store and check at the bar and maybe they'd do something to help - like it was okay to park in handicapped spaces between 11pm and 1am. So C and I were deciding whether I should pay the bill or not and I ended up pulling my car forward through another handicapped space and either parking it there or driving it to another spot of the lot, can't remember, but I went back inside and there was the weirdest bar in the store, and I didn't end up getting helped.

Then suddenly I was back at Yale trying to use my alumni ID to get a free lunch, and they let me into the dining hall, but I probably got billed. All the dishes were dirty, and there was a lot of gross-looking pizza. This guy from college who I didn't know in the dream and may have been a composite of several real people was there. He complimented me, then I criticized him, then he pointed out how rude that was, but in a nice way, and I considered facebook friending him.
Then we were outside, and it was Pittsburgh and a movie set all at once. We knew it was Pittsburgh because the rich family in town was playing with the giant pitbull balloons they had purchased and brought into town, and as we all know Pittsburgh's mascot IS the pitbull.
Anyhow, C and I still had the grocery cart from the store and we pushed it over to see the balloons and got caught in some weird updraft, which was exciting the first time, but the second time we realized we could get hurt if this kept up, so I said, we gotta let go of the cart when we hit the ground, so we did and we got blown back.
When I got up, I needed to go over to some benches and sit down next to Alan Rickman. Jason Bateman was wearing some strange but sexy red-and-yellow robe. I told him it looked hot, and then he went inside his house.

Some other stuff happened, but I can't remember.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

comedy, cookies, and books - don't know how to combine the three into one word

Been watching some old, old Jon Stewart clips on Youtube. I didn't know he had non-gray hair once. Once, he was in his 30s. Craaaa-zy.

Ate some chocolate-chip cookies. They taste a little anthraxy. Don't know what anthrax tastes like, but it's a weird taste, so you never know.

Finished I Am America (And So Can You!) and Half of a Yellow Sun. The latter is the best book I've read published since Vernon God Little. I Am America isn't as funny or as novel as America the Book and the voice is often problematic, particularly with the marginalia, which seems to sometimes be written by the character Colbert and sometimes by a guy making fun of Colbert. It's hard to keep straight who or what's being mocked, and I'm not always sure Colbert has it straight either. Still, glad I own the book.

Monday, November 19, 2007

American Gangster, decent sunglasses

People with aviator sunglasses: Jeff Goldblum was a hot "Fly," you're not. Unless you're Amelia Earhart or in a cockpit, stop pretending to be insects and wear normal people sunglasses.

After hitting up a cold and foggy Santa Monica yesterday and then dining at Miceli's on Cahuenga for dinner, C and I went to see American Gangster at the Mann Theatres on Hollywood (not inside the cool theatre - that one was playing Fred Claus).

American Gangster
is just superb. Kinda made me miss Harlem and Morningside Heights (it was shot in lower Harlem, east of Columbia, rather than up in the 130s where I once lived..., but close enough to my apartment at the 125th Street 1 train stop). Really enjoyed all 2 and a half hours of it. Seamless film-making, with the possible, but barely significant, problem of what happened to Cuba Gooding Jr.'s story line. Who cares? It's a deeply entertaining film and a helluva lot more nuanced and cool than The Departed, which I also loved but thought Leo overacted. Possibly the most together film of the year. Not as artsy and elegant as No Country, but definitely more accessible. Josh Brolin turns in a fine supporting performance, but he's not nearly as scary as he is in Planet Terror. And it's some really fine Oscar-level work from Denzel. Mmm. Denzel. Wear his kind of sunglasses. K?
I fear Ryan won't be nominated this year, what with Josh, Javier, Denzel, Russell (shrug), and George all doing such great work (and it's not even December yet) in far less controversial roles.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Yesterday, we were still exhausted, so we didn't do much. Had lunch at Pizzeria Mozza on Highland. Nothing to write home about, but good nonetheless.

Then to the Grove and the Farmer's Market.

Then we went to find the Ivy, all the way over on Robertson. Drove past. Hardly worthwhile...

Then we went back to Little Santa Monica because C was jonesing for some more Sprinkles cupcakes. I bought a pumpkin one this time and it was shockingly good. Ties with the grilled corn for most delicious food of the weekend.

Then home for dinner and after that, to the Sherman Oaks Galleria just-opening new Arclight Theater and an early showing of I'm Not There. Todd Haynes spoke about it afterwards, but here is why you shouldn't spend 12 bucks to go see it.

It's disjointed more than just "it's-disjointed-because-Bob Dylan's-persona-and-career-is," is TOO influenced by other films, and shows lack of focus. Also, the dialogue is painfully vague and general. It's long, it's emotionally unengaging, and Christian Bale, who I WORSHIP, has a creepy George W accent.

Good things do exist -- the music is obviously great, Marcus Carl Franklin has a good voice, and Cate Blanchett turns in a wicked performance. Charlotte Gainsbourg, who I don't particularly care for, saves the Heath Ledger section of the film. Bruce Greenwood is also good. Everything else is off or poorly executed.

If you love this film, please explain why. I get the premise and why Todd Haynes tried to do what he tried to do. I just think he failed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Touristy kind of day

Had an EXHAUSTING day yesterday. Got up and went to the picket line at NBC Burbank. C wanted to see celebs, and I figured it was the surest thing while still supporting my cause de l'annee. She saw Sarah Silverman, Andy Richter (out to save the universe, once again) and Ed Helms (who she loves more than I love anything). We struck with the guys on the Lot on California -- there were about five with a dog named Walker. I'm bad at schmoozing, but C's outgoing, loves dogs, and knows nothing about TV without having any desire to be in the industry. She was a hit, and I was accepted (sort of) by extension.

Then we headed off to Griffith Park. Which was ON FIRE. So they turned us back. Hope that's under control now. I really want to visit the Observatory.

So we cruised back down Vermont to visit Skylight Books, great bookshop, and I ate a mille feuille at the little French cafe nearby, while C had her second "thon" sandwich of the day. Went into this store called -- I think -- "Sqaures" or something and C helped Jennifer Coolidge pick out a coat. I kid you not. This is my friend, people.

And... then we realized we had SIX hours until our show at the UCB started and nothing planned.

So we drove down Sunset to Beverly Hills and walked around the tourist capital of the city, Rodeo Drive and its environs, for a few hours. Found a freakishly realistic Patrick Dempsey doll (for Enchanted, not McDreaminess) at Tom's Toys. Had dinner at The Farm of Beverly Hills. So delicious! The grilled corn was absolute joy.

Then went to Book Soup. Couldn't remember what road to turn onto get to Hollywood, so made the horrifying mistake of turning onto Kings Road, which has an incline of vertical. I nearly passed out going up the hill. Turned around, felt a little sick, and finally got to Hollywood Blvd, then Franklin and that great little theatre across from the Scientology Celeb mansion.

Still had an hour once we found parking. Waited in line for show. Saw Austin Nichol, Elisa Donovan, and Don McManus (yeah, Northern Exposure!) coming out of the "Billy the Mime" show beforehand. Went in to watch "Ronna and Beverly's All-Jew Revue" or something (C saw some guy Andre from "Season 2 of Project Runway" -- means nothing to me). Hilarious. So funny. Highly recommend. Two guests, one of whom was Justin Kirk, whose sexiness transcends time, space, and Judaism.

All in all a good day. WGA/AMPTP talks commence after-Thanksgiving. Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In which we point out, once again, that the AMPTP lies.


What's worse than being a klutz or a hypochondriac?
Oh, you're so smart. You anticipated the answer would change the "or" to an "and." And you assumed I'd end there.
Haha! (picture me jumping out from behind a door in a darkened room)
What's worse is being a hypochondriac AND a klutz AND having no health insurance!

See, there was a third thing, not provided in the premise.

Carly's coming to visit this weekend for more fun than I can shake a recently burned stick at. Hoorah! Finally, proof to my roommate that I have friends on this planet.

It's already Christmas (the decorations and merchandising blitz began Nov. 1). Which is weird, since it's usually in the 70s.

A bunch of the "the Third or somewhere further down the road" movies are coming out on DVD right about now. I only saw Pirates, Ocean's 13 and The Bourne Ultimatum. Will just wait to borrow Shrek and Live Free or Die Hard from the library.

I picked up my novel manuscript recently and was frightened by its weight. Thomas Pynchon, I will never understand how you can relate to your own behemoths. I read a few things (in terms of wisdom, not other books to plagiarize) that may help me finish the damn thing. But I'm not too concerned. Working on a novel for a long time just shows that I'm a perfectionist and that I take my work seriously. And that writing is not my day job. That, too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

there was something I wanted to tell you before I leave

I'm super-injured.

OK, for a writer anyhow. My left middle fingernail is blue from being slammed in the door on Saturday.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Two major spills in the last 72 hours, one in San Francisco, the other in the North Sea.

More than bullets or bombs, oil has been nothing but the handmaiden of death for the world since the creation of the combustible engine. Oil spills, fuel emissions, the rape of Alaska, the conflicts between the West and the Middle East, so many problems have their origins in this black horror.

We should already have vehicles that run on an alternate form of energy.

If you can, carpool, buy a Prius or electric car, and support good energy bills (but read them first -- often really heinous energy bills are portrayed as being environmentally friendly, while not being so -- coal, for example, is bullshit).

Friday, November 9, 2007

Strike Hard

Dressed to the nines in my finest red shirt, I huffed it downtown to Fox plaza, or as you may know it, the building that made Bruce Willis a supahstar.

Grabbed me a picket and did the whole bang-bang, ra-ra rally thing. Couldn't hear a word Pres. Verrone said, but cheered for Seth MacFarlane. The woman next to me kept asking who he was and what he was saying. I wanted to slug her. Apparently, some musicians were there. I saw lots of signs and heard our thunderous cheering and the helicopters above. And this woman with the drum. That's all.

Churros everywhere. Agents' assistants are engaged in some kind of food war that I suspect is in preparation for a Food Network reality TV show.

Lots of SAG people out, supporting the cause -- Ray Romano (who's a giant!), Steve Weber (got a photo of him in his super-tight top), Erik Palladino (of ER), Josh Radnor, crazy tiny Emily Deschanel, Kal Penn, Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms and Paul Lieberstein (double awesome for being an actor-writer), Billy Baldwin, who really hoofed it, and many others were out marching the good march. I personally was psyched to see Charlie Day (of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), but that's just me.

Discovered The Unit writers are the hottest on the networks. In attractiveness-scale. To a woman. A heterosexual one. Sadly didn't get photos of them.

Tonight was even more writerly unity. Went to the Sam Goldwyn Theater (home of Oscar -- the award, not Grouch) and watched three comedy geniuses, James L Brooks, Larry Gelbart and Judd Apatow (second encounter of the day) chat about films, TV, writing and comedy. Garry Shandling, K Callan, Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann (shocker), and Samm Levine were all in attendance. Not only was it super awesome, but the price of the ticket. 3 bucks for students, 5 for the rest of 'em. You can't buy that kind of cheapness.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Like Commies, but with talent

Tomorrow is the big writers' rally at FOX. If you work on Pico, I advise you to find an alternate route because there are over 3000 of us, and we're going to just DESTROY traffic. So skip work, wear red, and join us. There will be famous people. It's going to be like a block party, except we're not that happy about it. I borrowed my boss's camera, so I'll be posting pictures tomorrow night.

Despite having provided the world with Freaks and Geeks and becoming the film world's next big Comedy dude, I've refrained from becoming a monster Apatow geek. Until now.

If there's a chance tomorrow, I'm going to let him know how much I love this poster (I'm not crazy enough to think I'll meet him at the rally, but I am going to a panel he's at the Sam Goldwyn Theater tomorrow night).

If you don't live in LA or NYC, you can still help support the writers' strike. How? Don't watch TV online. Writers don't get any money, despite the advertising that accompanies every episode viewed online. So don't watch those shows until we get our contracts. Watch the WGA youtube channel instead.

Chow mein noodles are the best.

If anyone knows Rob McElhenney or any of the guys on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or anyone who could get scripts for that show, let me know. I'm desperado to write a spec script for that show. Anyone who can hook me up, I'll make a pumpkin pie for (if you're in LA), OR have something sweet sent to you (if you live anywhere else in America).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Can YOU handle the truth?

The Writers Strike: "Why We Fight"

Also, for those of you who STILL think writers live enchanted lives and are just being greedy assholes after watching this, do yourself a favor and go rent The TV Set. It's quite the little horror movie.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Juno You Want To, But Really, Junon't

The much-buzzed Juno got the royal treatment as the Gala Centerpiece at AFI's Filmfest last night. We're talking the Cinemarama Dome (it's kinda like Epcot) with special guests Jason Reitman, Jason Bateman, JK Simmons, Diablo Cody, and Ellen Page in attendance. Granted, only the director spoke, but I could have reached out and pricked my finger a la Sleeping Beauty on Bateman's spiky hair had I been so inclined.

But let's get down to the film. I'm expecting it's going to do well because, we all want to like it. The guy who directed the excellent Thank You For Smoking is behind it, and Diablo is a stripper-turned-blogger-turned-memoirist-turned-screenwriter. Also, her name is half-rodeo, half-Tarantino (why hasn't Tarantino done a Wild West movie -- shit, I'd see that). And the cast. Oh, the cast. You wanna love it, love it, love it.

And it's not hard to do, if you tell yourself, there's nothing wrong with a movie that's a string of one-liners, where the 16 year-old main character's dialogue is an unholy blend of a current 21st century teenager and a hyperarticulate 29 year-old who remembers everything about the 80s and likes Iggy and the Stooges. I don't know anyone under 20 who knows who they are. A kid doesn't end a word in "-izzle" and then reference Thundercats. It's an abomination!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can't not hear Diablo mouthing off through all the characters. And while it's all very witty, clever, funny, and what-have-you, there's just something that's not quite right. Seriously, Rome Film Festival, did you not notice this freakiness? Or is it only something Americans are going to find troubling?
Or just me.

On another note, Jason Bateman's great, even if the basis of his relationship with Ellen page's character is simply absurd. Not that the relationship couldn't happen. It's just based on this Freakazoid world of completely inexplicable, incongruous character development.

Whatev. I'm not convinced Diablo is all that and a bag of chips. But she's got money and uber-success, and I'm like the Honda PUYO concept car - I got no edge, man. So in a fair fight, I'd be punctured by her stiletto sharp public persona. In other words it's probably best not to listen to me.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Aliens in America

I wasn't a huge fan of the pilot, but I recently started watching it online.

It's a sweet show. And I totally identify with Raja. Strict moral codes and all.

However, having white people be afraid of you because of your religion -- well, I don't have that problem. White people aren't afraid of me.

Strike! Strike! Strike!

I don't know what you've heard. But let me be completely clear. The writers have NO CHOICE but to strike. Writers deserve a fair residual rate for internet downloads, and anyone who thinks downloads aren't going to replace DVDs clearly doesn't own a computer.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A little bit of "Country," A lot of Eth' and Joel

Every so often a movie comes along that I can't say bad things about. Even if it has a flaw here and there, it's so exquisite as a whole, that for once, actually pointing out the problems would indeed be completely pointless.

I saw an early screening of No Country for Old Men tonight at LACMA, and I suggest every single person over the age of 14 go see this movie the night it comes out. The Coen brothers have outdone themselves. It's beautiful, sprawling, smart, and just brilliant. Funny and horrifying all at once, the film almost never makes jokes -- it's just funny. Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin just knock it out of the park (it's really been Josh's year, shining in Rodriguez's Planet Terror earlier this year), and Tommy is himself to perfection. The cinematography is wonderful, the story is wonderful (good source material), and Bardem is both terrifying and really, really cool at the same time. You don't want the people he kills to die, but you also don't want him to be caught or hurt. He's just too cool.

So go see it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Lions for Lambs

Attended a screening of the film at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. The writer Carnahan did a Q&A after the screening and was terribly affable. I kind of wanted to smack him, he was such a nice guy. His career is a mystery to me, though his quick rise to writing stardom without any sort of struggle must, must, must be attributed to his brother Joe.

Lions for Lambs is a play. It may be on the big screen, but make no mistake, it's a play. And but for the helicopter scenes, it probably would have been.

Lions for Lambs
is not particularly great. Why? Because plays don't translate particularly well. This one, like others, is dialogue-heavy, quite static, and full of people lecturing to/at each other. And while it's all well-executed, I think you'd have to be crazy to think Andrew Garfield's Todd Hayes is anything but an unoriginal twit and that anything special is being said here.

Certainly the cry out against apathy is important, and it is in these moments, when the film begs itself and the audience to engage in -- whatever is important to them -- that it becomes a valuable film. However, this isn't enough. That Ernest and Arian engage can't save them when the leaders of the country (i.e., Tom Cruise's Sen. Irving) and journalists (i.e., Meryl Streep's Janine Roth) care more about, respectively, winning and keeping their jobs.
Still, no working hypothesis is provided, the action (and I'm just talking physical movement) is in short supply, and the characters with the most potential get gutted for pure drama's sake. That's not going to charge an audience. It's just going to depress them. Which is not what I think Carnahan was going for...

Drove too much today and ate too little. Wicked headache.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

on Russian film

I watched Nightwatch (or Night Watch, I guess) again last night. It's quite different from the novel -- in fact the movie's based ever so loosely on the first third alone. But Konstantin Khabensky, who plays Anton, is fantastic and the hottest Russian actor to grace the silver screen since Sergei Bodrov, Jr., who unfortunately passed away in a tragic avalanche a few years ago.
Anyhow Konstantin's going to be in the new Angelina Jolie movie, Wanted, which is directed, not surprisingly by Night Watch director Timur Bekmambetov.

Also, for those of you who saw Eastern Promises and liked it, I recommend watching some real Russian films. Night Watch is far more violent, and unflinchingly so, and it's completely true to the story.

Brother ("Brat") is truly a great Russian film. East-West, Burnt by the Sun, and Prisoner of the Mountains are also excellent. Can't wait to rent Day Watch.

Happy November!

Delicious dinner at Corner Bakery Cafe. A chicken pomodori panini and a moist little gingerbread pumpkin bundt. It made me happy.

Excess dreaming -- or perhaps excess remembering of dreaming. The problem here is that lately some of my dreams have actually become too normal and I find myself uncertain as to whether I had a conversation with my roommate or dreamed it.

I'm going to give Chuck and Private Practice a pass. Paul Adelstein is worth all the other lame stuff (i.e., everything else), and Chuck is charming, if wildly unoriginal and repetitive.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Shocking moment

I'm watching a Friends rerun.


I've never seen this episode before.

I'm literally floored.

I knew there were some episodes in the last few seasons that I had only seen once or twice. I didn't realize I HAD ACTUALLY MISSED ONE. Of all the TV shows I've watched in my ENTIRE life, I thought Friends was the one I had seen in its entirety.

Seriously. Am stunned.

Signs You're A Bad Parent: Halloween Edition

You threaten to take Halloween away from your disruptive child. Or you actually do it.
Your child will remember this as an adult and loathe you for it. It's a sign you're stressed and not thinking of your child. I don't care if he or she just murdered a small animal. You can deal with the kid's incipient serial killerness later. Now, just let them trick or treat.

dream, and Hosseini's successful second book

Read A Thousand Splendid Suns for my (gasp!) book club. I'm glad, too, because I don't think I would have had I not been forced to, and it's quite good if predictable in places and very much a part of the war-survivor genre (it would rest comfortably in a shelf full of Holocaust survival novels). But, despite the fact that I cried like a little girl for the last 100 pages, it could have ended far sadder. If it had been a European book, no one would have managed a happy ending and at least two more protagonists would have died.

I'm glad it's not a European novel.

I had a dream last night that my family visited me in LA and wanted to make tuna casserole at their hotel and I suggested going to Beverly Hills or bowling instead. And then I had to stop my car in front of these train tracks, and I crossed to the other side (I think I'm forgetting the most important part of this dream, by the way, which was most definitely horror-related) and was talking to someone when I realized it was night and my car lights might not be on. So I called back to my stepdad and heard a crunch at the same time, so I ran back over the tracks (and wouldn't let the little girl who was wandering around cross the tracks in case there was another train), but this other car had actually hit the car behind us, which was parked sideways in the middle of the street and was a really nice Adidas-looking car and had my coaches in it. What sport these coaches were in charge of is beyond me, but they were from another part of the dream (the important part), and I was mighty relieved. Also, at some point, I saw an ad where Jessica Simpson had not only dyed her hair dark brown, but had adopted an intelligent, sophisticated new voice. That's all I remember right now.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Red Sox sweep -- World Series 2007

Why do good things feel like signs of the Apocalypse? Because they're so unlikely? Well, if the Red Sox can win the World Series twice, then maybe there is hope for the 21st century. And maybe a girl from Boston can make it in the City of Angels.

If you found Nightwatch, the movie, bewildering, please read the book. It will all make sense, and you'll enjoy it quite alot. I'm actually probably going to watch the movie again soon.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

sick, sick, sick

I went up to the Mann Plant Theatres in Van Nuys to see Dan in Real Life (the chemistry between Juliette Binoche and Steve Carell is surprisingly wonderful) and I saw the most horrific thing.

A young woman, an older woman, and an 8 year-old girl (at the oldest), holding a stuffed animal and a baby doll, were in line in front of me. The older woman bought three tickets. For Saw IV.

What kind of hideously awful adult brings their child (and/or grandchild) to see a film in one of the most disturbing horror film franchises in existence. Get a babysitter or wait til it comes out on DVD. Don't bring the kid.
The theater had a policy about not admitting children under 5. But you're telling me a 6 year-old should be allowed to see Saw IV?? Kids under 13 should not be allowed to see rated-R films even with an adult, but an age limit of 10 would be, at least, better.

Reading the Russian novel, Nightwatch. Enjoying it immensely (I'm reading about 10 books at the same time, must finish one).

Slept until very, very late today (I was tired). It felt good. I'll probably do it again tomorrow. Mmm. Bed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

between day and white

This grayish white fog and smoke hovering over the Palisades today completely blocked the view to Malibu and only barely revealed some gnarly waves, unloved due to the weather. More importantly, it pressed downwards, and driving down Chautauqua, the pale tendrils of "smog" swept over my car. Fogs have fingers. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

one-way window

There's a little suction cup in my soul, and attached to that suction cup is a green-tinted window. Everything seen through this window looks wildly better than it is, and anyone (re: me) who looks through the window immediately wants everything they see and nothing they have. This window is my envy, and I feel like - since I've been in LA - the window has become even bigger and more distorted. And the more I look, the more I desire, the more I despise everyone who has what I want and doesn't deserve it half as much, the more that suction cup sucks all that's good from my soul and feeds it through some strange enzyme process into the window. Window grows, soul turns into brush.

I'm trying. Really I am. I don't want to be that person. I just need to be watered (metaphorically, I think). Then the suction cup's attachment will weaken and I can look away. If that makes any sense.

Whilst trawling the List of Craig, I often come across pleas from "ideamen" who claim to be writers in need of partners. Except, they can't write. The posts are filled with grammatical atrocities and offer little by way of compensation for bringing "their" story to life.
It's abominable. It ought to stop.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Three day headache, no end in sight

Most of the fires outside of San Diego are under control. Unfortunately, the air quality is viciously awful. I feel like hell, and supposedly, it's not going to get better until the humidity rises. Which it won't. For the foreseeable future.


Rom-coms, then to bed

I went to a writers' panel tonight for networking/educational purposes, and it got me thinking about structure, maybe writing a TV movie or a mini-series.

And then I started thinking about romantic comedies, and what the best ones have in common.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

The best romantic comedies keep the lead lovers apart for most of the film
Sleepless in Seattle
Bridget Jones' Diary
Sixteen Candles

or, when they are together, they're not "together," as in

While You Were Sleeping
When Harry Met Sally
You've Got Mail

because they either hate each other or they're in love with someone else (or at least one of them is) or a combo of the two (i.e. Drive Me Crazy).

I think keeping two people apart is the most successful because then you get the audience to yearn for them to come together. Hatred is harder -- it can be too convincing -- though it works well in The Cutting Edge.

Of course there are other themes, just not, usually, as successful.

OK, more on this later. G'night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Music, quickly

Anyone notice that "Everywhere" by Michelle Branch and "Stranded" by Plumb sound viciously similar?

I recently discovered Alice Russell's "Hurry On Now" and am a total convert. It's -- words can't express how satisfying.

Here's the video. Just listen/watch. And be prepared to be blown away.

Monday, October 22, 2007

burn notice

I'm trying to work out what these wildfires are, trying to explain them in terms recognizable to people who aren't here, who aren't driving to work with the flesh of the sky torn out, the horizon replaced with oily garbage bags and tar. It's not that smooth though, or that black, it's more diseased. The sky looks infected, to the south, to the northwest, and far to the east. All over the Southland the earth is being scorched because it's too dry and too windy and, in parts, because someone struck a match, but it's not just the trees that are shriveling and twisting like paper worms, it's as if the sky were an arm, and someone put their cigarette butt out here and there, all over. Domestic abuse is what it looks like.

I can't stress how stunning and quick the destruction is. In Ventura three major fires will converge before morning into one massive 80,000 acre fire. In all likelihood it will get worse before it gets better.

When it blows out to sea, the plumes are white. But the smoke doesn't rise, the winds spread it over the hills like a butter knife. It's eating the little vegetation we have right up. Topanga Canyon, which I'm very fond of, is going to be a graveyard of black and white skeleton, pretzel tree corpses. Like Halloween, but not scary. More like an ice cream headache.

Apocalypse-wise, eventually, the wildfires will win. This is early in the season for fires, and that it's stretching from Malibu to Mexico is frightening. Already, and quickly, resources are stretched thin. The winds are stronger than fire retardant. They double back on unsuspecting firefighters. They hop freeways like mutant jackrabbits. LA, the OC, San Diego, this whole area, is full of brush, free of water, averse to humidity. It's a firetease. And sometimes, LA gets raped. One of these days, it's not going to get back up, brush off its miniskirt, and go about its business. One of these days, it's going to stay down and we're all going to have to leave or lie down with it.

I've often wondered why people live in places that aren't made for humans, that are clearly natural disaster prone: Lousiana, Venice, Bangladesh, heck, the whole Middle East... And now look at me, I'm living in a place where natural disasters and constant drought are run-of-the-mill, celebrated, and turned into blockbusters. It can't last forever. Buy a 50 million dollar house here at your own peril. Best to build in the mountains. The Telluride guys are far more sensible.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Woot, woot, Red Sox give Indians the boot!

I'd say something vaguely threatening to the Rockies, but I'm afraid of jinxing it. So instead, let's watch a video to celebrate.

Malibu burning

Why would you live in Paradise, if Paradise were made of matches and God was constantly snapping his sparking, frictious fingers over it?

It's not so close as all that, but if you stand on Ventura Boulevard and look West, as I did today at the Sherman Oaks street fair, you'll see the sky is black and brown, like a volcano had erupted or a dragon was blowing its dark breath all over the coast. It makes me nervous. Damn Santa Anas. Moreover, my work's in the Palisades just south of the Malibu inferno. Tomorrow's going to be interesting.

I bought some lovely soft cookies from the Isabella's Cookie Company booth at the fair: Paddy Cookies and Isabella's Originals. The shop's in Redondo Beach, which is bloody far, so it was nice to pick some up close to home.

I am having some Act Two problems. Act Two is always the longest act, and it's always the hardest to handle. The beginning is easy. Just start. The ending is even easier. Just ask yourself, how'd you like to leave the story. But what happens in the middle, oh, that's horribly difficult.
What's true in structure is true in life. Or v.v.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Just watched Once, which my roommate got from a friend of a friend. The music's pretty damn good, if you like Damien Rice, which is probably the closest kinsman to Glen Hansard. If you haven't spent a great deal of time in Ireland, you may wish it had subtitles, as the accents are quite heavy.

Now if only you didn't have to buy the whole album off iTunes. Blast.

Friday, October 19, 2007

WB Studios

I'm in a bit of a mood. Not like you care. If you cared, you'd be hanging out with me, wouldn't you?

Went to a taping of Two and a Half Men tonight. The show had more vulgar insinuations than usual, and thankfully the kid wasn't really in it at all. The real problem I had was a runner in Robert Wagner's dialogue with Holland Taylor about Jon Cryer. It's crap the first time, crap the second.

Also, it's pretty obvious from the beginning where the episode is going.

But I went to see it to watch the beats, just to figure out how the writing plays live... and it's highly dependent on constant jokes. Nearly every line is played for a laugh. Which, I think, can be kind of forced and painful.

But I gotta say, Jon Cryer is awesome. And it was much better than The f-ing Singing Bee.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Eastern Promises, Things We Lost in the Fire

I didn't plan on seeing either of these movies 72 hours ago, and look it's Wednesday night, and I've seen both -- one that's pretty much out of theaters, and one that doesn't even premiere until... Friday? But I wanted to hang out with a friend (hence, EP), and I got a free ticket to see Things We Lost...

Let's start with Eastern Promises. You've read reviews by now and probably decided against seeing it because either a) it didn't release in your town, b) the trailer didn't grip you, c) you hate Russians, or d) you think Viggo Mortensen looks like your stepfather.
If it's d, dude! Me, too!
Anyhow, my take on the movie, which stars a French guy and an American guy as Russians, and an Australian girl as a British-Russian girl, is that it's trying too hard. It's too "Russian." Not that quite a bit of it doesn't ring true, but most of that is Anna (Naomi Watts)'s uncle, not the Russian mafia guys. OK, they kind of ring true, too, but so what? As much as I liked the movie, it just felt like it fit too well into a certain kind of group, like it should be partnered up with Mystic River or something for a double-feature.
And also, why film really brutal graphic violence when you know no healthy human being is going to be able to watch it? What's the point of forcing someone to throw up their hands? I get pushing the envelope, I get cinema verite really I do, but if the point of making a film is to make a story visible, why would you put something on film that people can't watch? It's like selling someone pre-dried-out markers. I don't think the climactic scene is terribly climactic. No heart-racing really, maybe because it comes so late in the movie (very end, actually), so I think really "what's at stake" is never thrust in the viewer's face. Could never run a successful TV series like that. This isn't exactly a gushing review, but you know what? I think you should watch it. It's a well-told story, gripping, so on and so forth. It's just not as stunning as A History of Violence.

OK, now onto Things We Lost in the Fire, in which Halle Berry loses her husband, and Benicio Del Toro plays the husband's best friend who, following the funeral, tries to help Halle and get sober. It's a rough time for all, but you can see that this is a good guy and this is a good family, and they're not going to just say, Oh, marry each other and make it all better. That's not quite how it works.

But does the film work? Well, sure. And, man, have I missed Benicio Del Toro. His face is so expressive, his eyes, his eyeBROWS - hell, his hair. He's just brilliant. Where has he been? He hasn't had a major role in anything since 2003! What the frick? Well, at least, that trend seems to be over.
The editing's a bit strange, the movie isn't going to win any Oscars, but I do feel it's probably the most honest film I've seen about how people in a family treat each other since, maybe, Ordinary People? Halle Berry's character is a real mother and wife, who has an idyllic sort of family life, but then is occasionally bitchy to her husband, and gets upset at her kids. And, boy, does she let Benicio have it, for things that are clearly more her problem than his. The children are equally well-drawn, and I think the way they treat any chemistry between the adults is really smart and faithful to what the story itself would want. Basically, the film manages to maintain that troublesome balance between being funny and poignant nearly all the time. I think the only flat part is David Duchovny, as the dead father. He's a bit one-note. You'd never know he had Californication in him, to be quite honest. Also, the obligatory breakdown scene for Halle near the end doesn't feel like the purging and facing of facts that it's supposed to be. It feels like Halle had a maniacal sob fest written into her contract, so she could remind people she won an Oscar for being all emotive and distraught in Monster's Ball. The film didn't need that, or the fluorescent runner AND the "accept the good" runner. One or the other would have been nice. Both made it a bit schlocky.

But yeah, Things We Lost. Good date film, and it's a pleasure and a joy to have Benicio back. The kid actors, especially the little boy, are pretty damn awesome. More likable than most kid actors that's for sure.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oh, Current's new Web site is up, and everything that was on TV is now available online. It's the coolest site, bar none. Enjoy!

I wonder who's more distressed by this...
I'm guessing it's a toss-up.

TV stuff

Thanks, Shell, for letting me work out some plot stuff. I do my best work when walking (can't do much in LA), in the shower, or talking to my sister. It's so useful to think out loud.

The last pilot of the autumn (as far as I'm concerned) was Samantha Who?, and it didn't suck as much as I expected it would. There were quite a few offnotes, but I was neither offended, nor bored, which is pretty much the case with every other show, except for Dirty Sexy Money (which is spotty, but is promising to deliver Blair Underwood) and The Big Bang Theory, which I am watching, honestly, only because it's in-between Two and a Half Men and HIMYM. Last night's episode with Sheldon's mom played by the really friggin awesome Laurie Metcalf was my favorite so far, though. I was never that into Chuck, and since there seems to be absolutely nothing at stake over the long haul, I have no more interest. Someone needs to kidnap Chuck's mom or something. Then I'll watch.

Good news for the WGA. The producers' guild took back a demand to renegotiate residuals (i.e., slaughter'em). However, nothing's changed on the home video front either.

I may be alone in this, but I like Heroes more this year. Granted, I'm not feeling the triple M segs (Mohinder-Molly-Matt), and I wish the casting for West had been a bit more creative (he looks just like the cheerleader's friend they kicked off last year), but I dig the hero whose power is the ability to emulate anything she sees on TV (see, the telly is educational!) and am pretty into it. Last year I had it on in the background and never paid much attention. Just a Lost wannabe, I thought, and a poor one at that.

Final TV note: I sort of lost interest in Nip/Tuck last year, in part because of grad school, in part because there's only so much suspension of disbelief you can ask of a person, but enough time has passed, and I am fairly fond of Bradley Cooper, who should be appearing. The guys in LA and over their heads? Sounds good to me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

riveting Sunday

Is this a disease?
I keep smelling things that I shouldn't be able to. Like bleach and cinnamon. If this is some kind of aphasia, well, I guess there are worse things.

I cooked rice for the first time tonight. As a child I hated rice because my mom always overcooked it, and overcooked minute rice tastes like DEATH. But rice at most Asian restaurants tastes far better. Anyway, my roommate has a rice cooker, so I took the plunge. It's not as good as the local Chinese restaurant, but certainly edible.

Went to LACMA today. I am determined to experience LA -- the whole shebang. So I went to the SoCal exhibit of the 60s and 70s and snatched a ticket to the LACMA showing of No Country for Old Men, which was pretty cool, and LACMA is free after 5. I also bypassed the La Brea tar pits which would have been boring if I didn't have Volcano permanently embedded in my brain. I can't look at the tar burping methane without imagining downtown LA heaving up and spewing lava.

Seriously? with Kati

Ahem, ahem, let me clear my throat.
Before SNL popped on tonight, I asked myself, "What's SNL going to do if the WGA strikes?"
Seems the question is moot, and not just because the strike was the subject of an unfunny and fairly offensive sketch during Weekend Update but because it's clear that SNL is officially irrelevant. Even the Andy Samberg digital short was phoned in (as they sometimes are). The only remotely humorous moments were courtesy of Jason Sudeikis' Dane Cook impression and Kristen Wiig's... crap, I don't even remember. I know she did something funny, but all I can think of is that horrific sketch where she's the captain of a spaceship and is preoccupied with losing her purse. I mean, seriously?
And what's with all the non-actor hosts? I love Jon Bon Jovi, really I do, he's charming, a genuinely good guy, handsome as hell, but he didn't elicit a single laugh the whole night. And that can't be ENTIRELY the writers' fault (can it?). I didn't see the LeBron James episode, but the long list of non-actors is starting to feel fishy. Come on, SNL talent booker. Try booking someone worthwhile. Like Ryan Gosling! (I'm not obsessed; he'd be a good host!)Or Reese Witherspoon. Or... Jason Schwartzman? They all have films coming out or just came out. Come on, man. Heck, you could do Steve Colbert. His book just came out. His show isn't on Saturday nights. And he lives in NYC. How hard could that be???

Maybe, I'm just angry at how little writing I've done lately. G'night.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Coldwater Canyon

I'd just like to give Tree People and the Coldwater Canyon park trails a big 2 thumbs' up. When I went up there this morning, Tree People volunteers were spreading mulch on the trails (v. muddy from last night's rain), so not only were the wide paths well-maintained, they smelled good, too. A popular but not over-crowded trail with great vistas of the Valley and Laurel Canyon (I'd upload photos of LA, but my sister took my camera to CT), it's a great hike, and you can do it a couple of different ways. Moreover, you'll get cooler, low-key celebs, like Jon Heder, who I think may have been one of the Tree People.

Then on my way home I saw Harold Ramis driving out of Ralph's in Studio City.


Lars and the Real Girl redux, thoughts on awards season

I've enjoyed reading the review of Lars and the Real Girl, which have been decidedly mixed. All of them are fair. I almost feel that this is a movie you make a decision about before you go in. If the film does x, y, and z, I'll like it, you tell yourself. If it does a, b, and c, I'll despise it. When the film does half of x, b, z, and c, once, but not the way you expected, then you have to ask yourself two questions, did I like the movie, and how is that connected to the film's quality? Because liking a movie and thinking it's good are not the same thing. Far from it, really. I knew, going into Lars, that as long as Lars didn't do anything crude to the sex doll, I'd love it because Ryan Gosling has got skills that go on for miles and the script isn't based on a Nicholas Sparks book. The movie lived up to its end of the bargain. Was it awfully contrived? Sure! Was I waiting for Ryan Gosling to crack out of the strange and tenuous shell of this deeply off character at every moment, so much so that it was distracting? Absolutely. Did I still think it was a fine movie and that the main cast did a superb job? You better believe it. Emily Mortimer and Paul Schneider really shine, if I didn't say so before, and while this isn't Ryan's best performance (still The Believer), he owns every scene. I can't imagine anyone else pulling it off. Joseph Gordon-Levitt could probably come close. No one else. Do you know how hard it is to pull off a lovable tenderness that is both mentally-disturbed and enduringly goofy at the same time, heartbreaking and yet far from maudlin? No one can do it! Tom Hanks can't do it (though I guess people think he did in Forrest Gump -- whatev). Jim Carrey can't do it. Bill Murray can't do it. Jimmy Stewart was the last guy, as far as I can tell, and while he was genius, he wasn't as subtle.

Judging from the trailers, I have some thoughts on nominations. I get the feeling No Country for Old Men is going to get nods for Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem. Michael Clayton will for George Clooney and Tom Wilkinson (probably Tilda Swinton, too). Charlie Wilson's War for picture. Ryan maybe for Lars (I'd love Paul Schneider, too, but Best Supporting Actor is always a tough category), definitely a Globe. Maybe something for Eastern Promises and Viggo. Once for the Globes (musical category).

I have a really good feeling about John Cusack for Grace is Gone. Keri Russell will definitely get a Globe nod for Waitress (comedy, musical). I can't make guesses about 3:10 to Yuma and The Assassination of.... I'm sure there's a nomination in there between the two. I just don't know what it is. Probably Denzel for American Gangster. Cate Blanchett, supporting for I'm Not There. Juno, Atonement, and plenty of other films will probably be on those lists, but right now, having seen only Waitress, Lars, and Michael Clayton, these are the ones I feel pretty confident about.

As much as I enjoyed Darjeeling and the performances, I doubt it will get any cast nods (if I had to champion any, I'd push Adrien, but not too hard), but it could get a Globe nod for musical/comedy (probably the easiest category -- what would the others be? Lars, Waitress, Juno, Once, maybe I'm Not There -- if it's musical, maybe Hairspray??).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

When Biskind's book was published, Altman had not yet made Gosford Park, Scorsese hadn't directed The Departed, The Aviator, or Gangs of New York (though I'm not convinced the latter two are films that will go down in history as "great"), and Coppola hadn't become the Godfather of one of the most prominent families in Hollywood (Sofia and Roman, Jason and Robert Schwartzman (the latter of Rooney), Nicolas Cage) not to mention a major producer in his own right. So the book feels a little dated.

Still, it's quite the ride, and by ride, I mean, it's amazing most of these directors are still alive, let alone working. Improv-ers with great luck, lots of swagger, enough blow to kill Mr. Ed, and a total disregard for their screenwriters, every director but Spielberg spat in the face of the studio system and mostly got away with it (for awhile). It's truly amazing. If you want to be a screenwriter, I urge you to read this book because, if today is anything like the '70s (and hopefully, it isn't), all directors will hate screenwriters (because they're nor producing their own material) and rewrite and take credit for the writers' work. The industry appears to be savage and unpleasant, and while I know it's changed, I think the savagery and unpleasantness still exists, just in an evolved form.
In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen