Thursday, August 30, 2007

A hot time in the old town tonight

This is some scary stuff. Shame it's not Halloween.

Had a good interview today. At least I think it was good. To the interviewer it could have been like getting stabbed in the gums, but they were just too nice to show otherwise.

This weekend's gonna be a scorcher. And our AC's tripping. Ugh.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Avant-Garde is French for "What the F*&%?"

wit: to let

My little sister has a blog now. She may never write on it again, but still, why not check out The Hotel Swank. The title was my idea.

So far, my happiest moment in LA has been sucking down the chocolate Oreo milkshake at Mel's Diner, a sweet-tastic LA chain. Hopefully, all that will change tomorrow.

My birthday's Sunday, and I know practically noone. So I guess I'll just sleep in and go to the beach. It's Labor Day weekend, so I'm sure they'll be empty.

Monday, August 27, 2007

long day

I'm so gonna get fired. Pick a job. Any job.

"I think I'm gonna sandwich after I sofa here for awhile."
- Jim Gaffigan, My Boys

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Jekyll now

If you like a bit of serial darkness, I highly recommend Jekyll, which you can watch on BBC America and get caught up OnDemand. James Nesbitt really seems to inhabit two completely different people. Man, that guy can act. It doesn't matter that it's taken from a preexisting story because it's a whole new angle, a whole new story, and it's just really geniusly done. This is so rarely the case.

On another front, I saw The Ten today at the Laemmle Sunset 5. Despite the stellar cast, it full-on blew.

That classic stories continue to get revisited (Bible stuff, British novels (hello, the surge of Austenmania), and so on) not just on film, but in TV. We're so bent on nostalgia and recreating what's been done that we may forget to make our own classics for the future to worship. Don't you think? No?

I'm reading Michael Palin's Sahara and I get the sense that too much history/awareness gets in the way of the appreciation of what there actually is. Problem is: we read too much, we have too many expectations. This is my LA problem. I had an image, and it is the image, but it's not, and I feel like I can't write about it. Here it is, this place, and what does it mean?

What does LA mean?

LA is your car and canyons. LA is those car commercials that looks like it would be fun to drive and also nauseating. It's gorgeous homes, endless Panda Express and the haze-engulfed Pacific. Really good-looking people, even the non-actors, and car accidents, and the freeway, and dry, dry hills melting into green, green lawns that have been watered to look like a place this isn't. It's Sunset, which is a different place everytime you change neighborhoods, and...

I don't know what it is. I can't get a hold on this place yet. It's too big, it's too foreign, far more foreign than London or any European city I've been to. LA has always been a set in a movie pretending to be other places, and when it was itself, half the time it was shot in Vancouver. I know this place, and yet I don't know it at all.

But my job is absolutely brill. So I'll stick around a little while longer.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Right at Your Door? How about Right at Mine?

Holy crap, have you seen this?

things you don't need in an apartment in LA...

A fireplace.

And yet...
I have one.

It must be fake. Right?

Liam Rector

Not living on the East Coast anymore, I did not find out about my former professor's suicide until this morning. It came as quite a shock -- he was a great guy, a force to be reckoned with -- and I am terribly saddened by the loss. For those of you in NYC there will be a memorial Sept. 22 at St. Mark's. I'll be there in spirit.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

how to be an Angeleno

Driving down Van Nuys today, I nearly hit a woman. A woman who was running down the middle of the busy street, straight into oncoming traffic, screaming her head off. I SWEAR TO GOD. This is what living in LA is like.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

the complex

My apartment has that 70s noirish Valley-thing going for it. A little LA Confidential, a little Elliot Gould does the hardboiled detective with a Jewfro-gig. Thin walls, Venetian blinds, a baby screaming upstairs (neglected or just colicky, who can tell?), the kind of place where a guy might go to interview the roommate of the dead mol who just washed up on the banks of a dried-up Ventura swimming pool, if you know what I mean, and she answers the door in nothing but eyeliner, a white T-shirt, underwear, and a Lucky Strike. She invites him in, half-listening as she reads the trades and sips her coffee (an aspiring actress who works the night shift at Mel's Drive-In) without any reaction as he lets her know her missing half of the rent just kicked the bucket. Damn, this baby's still screaming. Should I call someone? I hear it crying alot. Then again, babies cry alot...
Anyhow, that's why I'm not asleep. Thinking about pimps and producers and all this other LA neon lights, hot city stuff.

No liveblog, just livesummarization.

Gerry Dee and Amy Schumer were the best of the five in my not-so-humble, completely correc opinion, which is surprising. Ralph and Lavell usually run away with it.

I Blog, I Decide

This is funny NOT because I work for a guy who works for Current TV. It's funny because it's funny. Also, Conor's a Yalie. Woot, woot.

Yeah, Denmark sounds good to me too.

So would I, but I live on the first floor

Hannah Takes the Stairs is supposed to be a bit of alright, but the preview is dull as all get-out. But I have to say, this still, which also serves as the movie poster -- totally winning.

Makes me want to make out with a guy whilst wearing goggles. Especially if he looks like the bloke, Mark Duplass -- I'm using Britishisms because he looks British. Leave me alone.

I might liveblog Last Comic Standing tonight... Or not.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sepulveda rules

That's a road, an alternative to the nightmare Angelenos sometimes call the 405, and it is a tar-covered gift from heaven. Also, Sepulveda Rules would be a great name for a band.

My new pilot's about half-done. It's so much fun to work on -- this is my first hour-long, and it's far easier to do than a spec for an hour-long.

Got job as a producer's assistant -- start Thursday. I'm super-excited. Hopefully, it will eventually be a fulltime gig, or lead to one, so I can quit my stupid job in the Palisades.

Saw Superbad in Santa Monica last night with a writer-friend. Amazingly crass but really entertaining. The jokes aren't super-jokey. It's just kids being earnest and it's funny on top of funny. I was quite pleased with the ending as well, very satisfying and relatively realistic. Michael Cera's awesome, by the by.

Also, saw the trailer for "Walk Hard" and it looks like by far the best genre spoof that's come along in quite some time. Looking forward to it.

Finally watched the Damages pilot I downloaded from iTunes and am sad I can't watch the other eps online or onDemand. Despite the whole murdered fiance plot (which is a bit hackneyed since Alias) and a moderate level of predictability, it was engrossing TV. Mad Men I'm less sure of... the pacing may just be a bit too slow for me and my ilk.

Monday, August 20, 2007

written early morning (not posted til night)

Had lunch at Il Tramezzo (or something) with old roommate in Beverly Hills yesterday; too much mayo in the pesto chicken sandwich, but otherwise good. There's this amazing store, Hannspree, on Beverly (I think) that has customized televisions. You can get a Batman one, sports jerseys, baseballs, crabs, giraffes, all sorts of things. It's a real trip. On Rodeo we didn't go into any of the high-end clothes stores, but one galley had Miro, Rembrandt, Renoir, and a great deal of Picasso and Chagall (all of whom I love). If only I had 30,000 dollars to blow...

Then I went to Book Soup in WeHo, and did NOT get lost. Great indie bookstore, though on a very congested part of Sunset -- a little dark, high bookshelves, crowded, wonderful. A bookstore for book junkies.

Pinkberry is way overrated. It's not frozen yogurt in the traditional sense. It's frozen YOGURT, which isn't so great, especially if you don't like yogurt so much.

Accidentally went on a little detour through Mulholland the other day. Dry and brittle up there. Lots of signs about not smoking or starting fires. Don't want the giant gorgeous homes going up in flames.

I got a ticket to the premiere/Q&A of John August's new film "The Nines" for August 31. He has a great blog that provides much in the way of entertainment and isn't nearly as snarky (though equally enjoyable) as Ken Levine's. Anyhow, if you're interested in screenwriting, I recommend these.

That's all. Off to Hollywood for a meeting...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

books I could live without

This is always nice -- "this" meaning when someone with the same feelings you do gets published in The Atlantic. I had to read Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars in high school, and I felt like snow was falling on me and giving me hypothermia and turning me into a sluggish braindead worm through the entire book. I don't even remember the murder mystery. I just remember that I despised it. I didn't like A Thousand Acres, but at least it wasn't A Thousand Years, like Guterson's book. I tried to read All the Pretty Horses in high school as well, mostly because I wanted to see the Matt Damon film, and I couldn't see the movie without reading the book. The first chapter was total garbage, and the film got terrible reviews, so I gave up. However, I did think The Road was fantastic, so...

But I'm so glad to hear someone else hated White Noise, which was weird and stupid and written like an existentialist fucked a conspiracy theorist and had a baby who started college at age four and never really left. Not as bad as the other two books, but still... not something anyone should ever read in the future.

Granted, I've never seen the skill or charm in A Tale of Two Cities, either, and yet I still worship at the altar of Dickens... so... that was neither here nor there...

How does one avoid pretention or redundancy or sluggishness? I think sincerity is important, and yet, not taking yourself too seriously. Being human is a weird condition, and still it's the most normal thing in our experience. Reconciling these two fractious truths is a writer's job, and it's very, very hard. Especially when you're young, impressionable, and thinking too much. This is why I am not yet done with my novel. I don't want people to think my book is pretentious. Maybe that I still need to grow, not that I have a personality defect. Limitations of style or execution are only temporary. Flaws in tone are unforgivable.

To bed. On the horizon for tomorrow: job interview, brunch in Hollywood, writing, spending some time with a Quickbooks CD...

8/18/07 Update

I'm still getting my bearings, which means I end up driving in circles, way past where I need to go, and get into a bunch of near accidents.
But I'm getting the lay of LA.

Sent my sitcom pilot out to a major competition today. Cross your hearts and hope they like it.

Am now working on an hour-long called, for the moment, "Redemption." I'm really enjoying the storyline so far, though I think my heroine needs to be more sympathetic. That will come with time. The problem so far is that the best characters in the pilot I don't see as recurring ones -- they're there for the set-up, not for the long haul. Maybe I'll rework that.

My sister wants it set in San Francisco and called "The Gates." I'm going with Denver, and I have a rough idea for a different, better title, but I feel it wouldn't make sense unless you read the pilot. Which you won't. Not just yet. Not unless you want to produce it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Shexhausted in Sherman Oaks

Since I drove in from Vegas Wednesday night, I have gone on two job interviews (one in BHills, one in the Palisades), bought a mattress in Burbank, gone to the airport twice, bought a car, got kicked out of a country club, unpacked, enjoyed several freeways, Topanga Canyon, and touched the Pacific Ocean. If some perfumer in Jersey wanted to capture essence of fatigue right now, they'd just have to wrap me up in lard Jean-Baptiste Grenouille-style.

Will spend weekend writing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

LA Resident, Christopher Titus's Neighbor...

Unless he's slumming it. The soon-to-be "Big Shots" star and erstwhile "Titus" headliner stalked me today without knowing it -- I saw him at the Chevrolet dealership, and then we both had dinner at Pomodoro.

Got lost ALOT today. Drove through Topanga Canyon, went to Malibu, the Palisades, Van Nuys, Encino, Tarzana, and Burbank today, among other places. The people whose car I have will not be pleased with the miles racked up.

But at least I have a mattress. And, hopefully, soon, a car.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Little Miss Nomad, Mountain Climber Extraordinaire

has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

I'm in Vegas, au moment, but back in Utah on Monday, we visited Arches National Monument, where the most beautiful natural rock formations make their home.

To see the Delicate Arch, the most famous of the arches, you have to take a 1.5 mile "moderately strenuous" walk up the sheer, slippery face of a sandstone mountain. We did it in 100 degree heat. I am very tan now, a little sunsick, and have driven so much, I now consider myself an expert driver.

Tuesday morning we drove through Monument Valley, saw some dinosaur fossils in Navajoland, I found a dinosaur tooth (I think), and then we hit the Grand Canyon. After the majesty and grandeur of Utah, not to mention all the collected hours in the car, the Grand Canyon is still breathtaking and remarkable -- but only for about 20 minutes. Then my sister and I both just wanted to get on with it.

Route 66 was pretty fantastic though. No one on the road.

So last night we hit the Vegas Strip, which is gross, so bright and shiny you can see the grime even better. It was over 100 last night, and let me tell you, the strip is long, and when you're suffering from heatsickness, it's dreadful to have to walk it, which is what I did to appease my photohound little sib. But I have to say, the Bellagio is remarkable.

Anyhow, will soon be in LA. Looking forward to it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Boulder, CO

Staying at ex-roomie's just at the base of the Rockies. Gorgeous views. Now, these are mountains. Walked around behind the National Center for Atmospheric Research this morning, prior to a delicious, calorie-laden brunch at The Broker Inn.
Here are a few photos.

Last night we went to Pearl Street, a lovely outdoor mall and promenade. Boulder strikes me as a wonderful place to live. As opposed to the barren, toasted wasteland of Eastern Colorado along 76, which may quite probably be home to the entrance to Hell.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Live-blogging Entourage: The Curse of the Multiples

9:30 something pm -- Twin-on-twin violence. Love it.

9:41pm -- Drama: "You want to paint me?" Busey: "No, I want to paint on you."
Busey rules my life.

9:47pm -- Busey: We'll get to the details later.

9:48pm -- Eric's B story (or A or C, who can really tell?) is dulling me out

9:49pm -- Blige knows which twin is which, and she's going to be pissed Ari fired the poor f-ed-over one. High-liraious!

9:51pm -- Amazing. Best elevator one-liner EV-er!

9:52pm -- Ari: "How can one embryo produce such two f-ing losers?"

9:53pm -- What is wrong with nepotism?

9:55pm -- Peter Jackson is looking GOOD!



In Lincoln, Nebraska. After I-80 snafu around Iowa City (highway closed off due to some major accident, took an hour to find an alternate route) and an hour and a half at a JiffyLube where they (sorta) fixed the rock chip in our windshield, we're here in The Cornhusker Marriott.

Oh, and I totally saw The Bourne Ultimatum at a super nice Toledo theater the other day. Despite some nauseating camera work during the chase/fight scenes and Julia Stiles' mind-numbingly terrible performance (in an admittedly thankless role), the film is fantastic. Just don't eat all your popcorn prior to the beginning -- that's the stomach-turning part.

So much corn. Sigh. Am looking forward to Colorado tomorrow.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Davenport, IA

That's where I be. After spending yesterday in Toledo with Judd and his fine folks, drove today to this lovely little town hugging the side of the Mississippi River. The house, which is owned by a poet-prof of great talent and even broader hospitality, sits on a hill a mere five-minute walk from the Eastern shore. We took a sunset stroll through swarms of gnats, past many a fine Tudor-house, down to the walkway, situated between a train track and the lily-strangled waters. The sister photogged a bunny, beaver, some manly types in a fishing boat, and then we crossed back just a few minutes before a tiny freight train black spewing black smoke honked its horn and shuffled past us towards, presumably, St. Paul.

Stopped at Notre Dame today. Gorgeous campus. Lots of Jesus. Hot as the Holy Land.

Tomorrow onto Lincoln, NE. Am wiped.

Monday, August 6, 2007

12 hours of CT

In about 12 hours, I'll be saying the long goodbye to my erstwhile home.

It's about bloody time.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

28 hours earlier...

I'm having a moment of calm.

Everything will be just fine. I decided a mere 10 minutes ago to spend 10 extra dollars to buy myself a little more time. Believe it or not.

I am driving across the bloody country. That's amazing. I should be excited not worried and stressed. Anxiety won't do me a bit of good. Yes, the first leg of my journey is going to be agressively awful, but it's not impossible, and more importantly, afterwards, every day gets more and more manageable.

Everything will be fine.

Look out, America. Here I come.

In approximately 28 hours.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Bright shiny spots in an otherwise despicable week:

Father threw a little get-together to fare me well in my exitus prontus from these here parts. And gave me some money to buy a mattress. So screw you, sleeping bag!

Subscribed to reading The Magnificent Ambersons through
Not sure how I feel about reading a classic novel via email, but I'm sure I'll have a decided opinion on it once I'm done with this Tarkington extravaganza.

Still don't have a definite person to drive with me to Cali. S-I-G-H.

Saw The Simpsons Movie last night, even though I really can't afford to do stuff like that. It was unabashedly entertaining, even though I haven't watched The Simpsons in close to forever. The great genius and success of comedy in The Simpsons has always been to make the stupid look clever and the clever look stupid. You got to doff your hat. Or Duff it. Your choice.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm more of a blue-black-brown girl myself

Desperation is really not my color.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Nomads can't go it alone

I'm afraid my friend who was going to drive across the country with me is bailing. Unfortunately, it's near impossible to get in touch with her, so I can't confirm that. Anyone want to drive to LA with me? All you have to pay for is your flight back to wherever and food. I got gas and places to stay (if you chipped in 100 that would be great, but not absolutely necessary...).

I'm leaving late on the 6th or early on the 7th, going the Northern Route, and I'm open to suggestions!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

right now...

... if I took one of those Church of Scientology stress tests, it would register as galactic... I'm guessing.
Also, just in case anyone clicks the word "galactic" above, I'm pretty sure the link is a nebula, maybe the Crab Nebula, but any further clarification on the point, as always, would be greatly appreciated.
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