Wednesday, April 30, 2008

the sad thing is... this is per gallon, not tank

Click to see the funny...

Monday, April 28, 2008

How some bad songs STILL suck years later

On occasion, I feel a bit of nostalgia for 'NSync. Whoa, whoa, whoa, before you start lighting your torches, little village psychos, hear me out. Were 'NSync still around, Joey Fatone would not be the reality TV tyrant he is, I would still have hope that JC Chasez could do something awesome with his considerable music talent, and I wouldn't be depressed about Justin Timberlake being "taken" because he'd still have really awful, awful hair and a kind of annoying voice.
That, of course, has little to do with their music. I actively pretended to be above the thrall of NSync, but I was into those sappy teen songs, much like kids flock to Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana concerts today more for their crush on the "cool" teens than anything resembling sophisticated musical appreciation. Still, though, NSync's songs were largely harmless and you had to admire those harmonies.

But for God's sake, why on Earth would a radio station play any of the total garbage from their last album today? "Dirty Pop" has got to be one of the worst songs ever. Sure, it's trying to have a message, but it sounds like a weasel hopped into Timberlake's throat, squirmed for a bit, gnawed its way out, and then clawed JC Chasez with the remnants of Timberlake's esophagus--that's how both of them sound. Just awful. The song is so bad on so many levels, but not in the "it's so bad it's good" way of, I don't know, that MC Hammer song. Blech.

Anyhow, finished When a Crocodile Eats the Sun. Highly recommended for anyone who has the remotest interest in Africa and/or truly fine prose, who is/has been Jewish/is interested in World War II, and/or has a complicated relationship with his/her father. For everyone else, I don't really know what to say.

Went to the Vista in Los Feliz yesterday. Easily my favorite theater in LA so far.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

my body's teriyaki

Went to the LA Times Festival of Books today at UCLA, which is such a pleasant campus. Took the trip as an excuse to eat at Apple Pan, which is supposed to have a superb burger. Definitely one of the better burgers in LA, but for $6 or $7? And no fries? You want a good burger, you have to go back to New Haven. Louis' beats 'em all, hands-down. Still, the Apple Pan was good, fries were yummy, service was fantastic (I left a big tip), and Peri Gilpin brought her fam in. Definitely worth it.

Then I put on some suntan lotion (not enough, go ROASTED) and walked around UCLA. Super-expensive cash parking wiped me out, so I had no money to buy anything, which was probably a good thing, because I would have totally bought a book at the McSweeney's tent, probably three at Vroman's, one or two at one of the travel shops, Marc Norman's book so he'd sign it, and probably one or two more. Instead, I got dehydrated, went to every single booth, passed the Ray Bradbury tent where a long line waited (I saw his poor venerable face--I hope he survived this infernal day), and dropped in on the Slipstream panel to see the awesome Kelly Link in action and cool off.

Unfortunately, the AC was not on and Kelly Link canceled at the last second. It was a good panel in any event.

I'd go back tomorrow, but I think I'm going to go say goodbye to Dutton's and, um, chill.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Son of Rambow

If you saw Be Kind Rewind and thought something was missing, well, you were right. It's hard to put a finger on it, but the film was a noble effort that just didn't feel complete.

Son of Rambow, on the other hand, the first/second film by Hammer & Tongs, the guys who did Hitchhiker's Guide, totally executes a similar idea (making home movies, though here the film is a 'sequel' rather than a remake) but light years better. Part of it's the fact that the home filmmakers are children. Part of it is that the story doesn't take a backseat to the idea. Whatever it is, the film's quite good. Will Poulter, who plays Lee Carter, is really phenomenal and ought to get lots and lots of recognition. Bill Milner, as Will Proudfoot, also does a fine job as the picture of innocence and Rambo's wee British son.

It's just a silly, fun movie about two boys with crap family lives (well, Lee Carter's family's crap--Proudfoot's just a part of a Quaker-type religion that prevents him from being a typical entertainment-saturated child) who become friends, make a movie, watch it all fall apart, and then, well, you'll see. Because you should really see the movie. It's charming as all get out.

I'd also kill to get my hands on one of David O'Reilly's bibles.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


So I'm reading When A Crocodile Eats the Sun, which makes me regret quite a bit not having taken a class with Godwin in grad school. But c'est la vie. Anyhow, the book is an excellent read for anyone not following the election madness going down in Zimbabwe (and if you're not following it, you should be--and just go ahead and read the book).

The fact that the MDC has made it to this point is, you must understand, something in of itself. Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition to Mugabe and the ZANU-PF, has been murdered in effigy in his own country so often by crazed ZANU supporters that his persistence is admirable -- and his temporary move to Botswana understandable. And though he won the election and has the support of both neighboring countries, England, and Amnesty, Mugabe is a wackadoodle who's going to demand "recounts" until he can turn the election back towards him. To support the MDC is take one's life into one's hand. Hardly a democracy.

So it's nice to see South Africa finally acting responsibly. Zimbabwe's a landlocked country. If you cut off its access to ports, you can essentially tell it what to do. I don't recommend this act of aggression typically, but it's past time, so it's heartening (if ever so slightly) to hear, via Reuters, that South Africa has prevented a Chinese ship from unloading its Zimbabwe-bound weapons... including mortar bombs. For a country not at war, that's quite the government purchase.

Not having the bombs isn't gonna prevent ZANU militia from burning MDC supporters' farms to the ground. The 2002 elections were a nightmare, and Zimbabwe continues to have the WORLD'S worst inflation rate--despite having quite a few natural resources. I deeply deeply hope Mugabe's attempts to commit election fraud this time are not so successful. But I don't know who's going to make sure of that...


Eat rocks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

music--remembered what I was gonna say

I heard "Oh Sherrie" on the radio today. Why don't guys write songs with girls' names in 'em anymore? It's a total turn-on, by the by.

Obama's speech

Was good. He's a classy guy...

I just really hate those catchphrases.


OK, so I've been assuming for awhile now that my support for Hillary was kind of like my support for Ben and Jerry's In a Crunch. Just because I liked it didn't mean it was gonna stick around. But while some condemn Hillary for sticking with it in this race and dividing the party, there is, of course, another way to look at it. A lot of people don't want a woman in the White House because people still have ideas that women are weak. But here's a woman who will not be bullied. That's a good thing in a leader.

On the other hand, I still think Obama's the clear front-runner despite efforts to discredit him as an elitist because of a warped soundbyte. If they really wanted to unite the country (as they say), they'd run on a single ticket, and Hillary would accept the VP, AND EVERYONE WOULD BE HAPPY BECAUSE THEY WOULD DEFINITELY WIN. But, no matter how much you love either candidate, you have to recognize that neither is that selfless. Neither is a saint. Both are power-hungry, as they have to be to run. In any event, I will vote Democrat period.

I'm not crazy though. Neither may be able to fix the crazy mess we're in. And while I'm glad two candidates who are not only incredibly worthy, but a woman and an African-American, I think I, like many Americans, realize Gore, despite his white manness, would have been a better president than either.

yo, yo, yo

Every time I hear Randy Jackson say "Yo, yo, yo," my brain goes "Yoho, yoho, a pirate's life for me, dawg."

David Cook or someone should do a rock and roll version of "Moon River."

Is it just me or does the Panic! at the Disco song "Nine in the Afternoon" and the Paramore "Crushcrushcrush" song sound, like, I don't know, the same. Maybe it's just a tempo sitch. Actually alot of songs lately sound all of apiece. Ech.

Um, I had something else to say about music, but I forgot.

I'm going to go back to reading about Zimbabwe wovits killing white farmers in the 21st century and feeling bad that I'm, um, kind of on the white guys' side (considering quite a few of the white guys offered to give their farms back, were told not to, were invaded by Mugabe's "war vets," had their farms torn apart, and, um, were shot in the face/back of the head). For some reason every time I read about conflict in modern Africa, I understand it less t han any other war in any other part of the planet, mostly because the violence seems to be there for its own sake, not as a tool or as a form of protest, but as an end in its own right.

People kill each other for all sorts of reasons, none of them good or right, but there's something particularly insidious when a single person is murdered by a hundred people, when a person who poses no present threat either as an individual or as a part of a group is slaughtered, and when that murder is the sort of Black Swan (as it was in Zimbabwe) that is widely copied and admired--and permitted by the government. I don't subscribe to the whole people paying for the sins of their fathers, especially if those sons tried to do the right thing and were rebuffed (many of the murdered farmers offered up their land as part of black resettlement and were told to keep their farms by the same government that now silently permits the wovits to kill any white farmer they choose). Just to be clear, I would find this horrendous no matter who was doing it to whom.
And to offend, I'm sure, a whole other group of people...

[the following is to be taken lightly, as I don't actually know what I'm talking about]
Oh, and I've been wondering lately, probably because today I captioned some Kabbalah video, why the Palestine/Israel conflict doesn't have a third contender. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here, but there's a little religion called Christianity that also has roots in that part of the world, yet, not so much with the residential presence. Considering how super-Bible thumping the stretched-out elastic waistband and hemline of our nation is, I'm seriously surprised there hasn't been some kind of a movement to make that little conflict a "Three's Company" for the 21st century (I imagine Christians would be Jack, the Jews would be Janet, and the Muslims would be Chrissy, but that's open for discussion). I mean, is it because the Christian Right isn't as righteous as all that. They want to fight the enemy, but not actually celebrate their Lord's most favored gospel heroes in their original homeland? I'm not trying to incite anything, but I just wonder why. We know Christians, historically, like to colonialize, even super-hot places, we know Christians like to settle in said uncomfortable, disease-ridden and/or natural resource-low places despite the likelihood that they'll be slaughtered in mass for no other reason than they can--so really, what stopped 'em from telling the Jews and Muslims, whoa, whoa, whoa, we know how to settle this little conflict--both of y'all get out and we'll turn the place into the Disney Strip. I mean, I get that Israel was kind of non-Jews' chance to say, whoops, our bad for not stopping the Holocaust, why don't you have a safe place to chill in the desert where these other people are that kind of aren't important, and hey, look, it's Biblical! But that doesn't mean they haven't had the prescription on the God goggles or greed glasses updated in the years since. I mean, really, it's like the kid who has his mom bake cookies "for his class" and then kind of regrets it later because he wants all the cookies for himself. Everyone wants cookies!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

b.s. adjective of the day...

is "adjacent."

Dude, if something is "Beverly Hills-adjacent," it's not in Beverly Hills. Just say where it is. Does anyone really care what part of LA it's NEXT TO? Crikey. It's not like we're geographically impaired. This isn't the apocalypse. We're not trying to map our location by the stars or some sort of sextant. There are signs frikkin everywhere saying where you are. If you don't know, you have neighbors who will tell you. Seriously. Ask them. I guarantee if you're living in North Hollywood, they're not going to tell you "Hmm, well, we're living in Studio City-adjacent."

Why do I feel like I've ranted about this before? Hmm.

Went to Sherman Oaks Spring Festival. Rocking a cherry red V-neck tan some people might call a sunburn. I prefer to call it my triangle of passion...

Wow, that grossed even me out.

Watched some vintage West Wing with my greenhorn roommate. Felt like a bit of a guru.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
... ooh, man, I guess that over-the-top marketing ploy didn't pan out so well. Here's an idea: scale. For Pete's sake.
Still, let's keep giving Jason Segel and Bill Hader work. Eventually, we'll reach a day where news outlets will spell their last names correctly, or at least consistently within a single article.

can we get a little "what-what" for irony?

Went to Echo Park party last night. Saw someone I knew (kind of), which, considering how many people I know in this city, is a bloody shock. Weird, weird party. Lots of people older than myself, and just about everyone more successful (most of 'em were writers for a certain TV program and/or the sort of people who hang with writers for said TV program)... and still, it was essentially a Williamsburg kegger. I mentioned this to one person, who was wasted, and he totally agreed, so... draw your own conclusions. Nice friggin' house though.

Also, at party, was a certain 2008 Oscar winner (about whom I've spoken in this blog, cough, cough--though to be honest, it may just have been Mary Lynn Rajskub in a wig...) hanging out with a certain Greek star. Briefly. As well as a beloved, currently unemployed actor from Undeclared, who, like several other of the hipstery guests, danced very, very oddly (and looked way more than 2 years older than me). Like they were trying out for a Fatboy Slim video. Also, since a goodly number of the guests were Jewish, there were Passover snacks.

But I met some nice people. I was more social than is my wont. I said "wont" not once. All good things.

Echo Park is cool. I'm glad I don't live there. I still have some cooling up to do.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

birds-of-paradise are ugly

Don't you think? Most in LA look like they're carrying avian flu, they're so scraggly and pointy. I think, if you're gonna call a flower an "x of paradise," it should be the most damn beautiful thing you ever did see.

I prefer a yellow rose.

Watched the Tom Lenk "Diablo Cody" video on YouTube. Me gusta. Go hunt it down. I'm not just gonna give you everything.

Might go to a party in Echo Park and meet new people. Am terrified out of my too-big-for-hats skull.

Bought Brick Lane, The Inheritance of Loss, No Country for Old Men, Augie March, a medical dictionary, and the New York Times' Essential Guide to Knowledge at a local bookshop that's going out of business--all of these books for 40% off. Went to the Commerce outlets as well and bought a shirt and pair of capris. All in all, spent about $100 I don't have. This would be a good time to snap your fingers, a la bohemian audience at a poetry reading. Just put your espresso down first.


Friday, April 18, 2008


I've been interested in uncertainty for some time (probably all my life as an abstract, but only recently as a--how to put it--value), and now, I can't help but think about maps in the human consciousness.
"Here be dragons" used to act as a filler for the human lack of knowledge of geography. While the image of a serpent has vanished from the modern atlas, I can't help but think that idea permeates human history. It's not that we're making it up, not really. We believe there to be dragons. We don't know that we don't know until, you know, ch-ch-ch-changes.
It's not so often books make you think.

Also, had a Tommy's Hamburger today. Will not be repeating that mistake in the future.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

orange would have been even weirder

So right now I'm reading, among other things, The Black Swan. So far I have no argument with this idea and actually posited something similar in some dialogue I wrote in a play back in the spring of 2004, which was largely based on a Malthusian apocalypse. In it one of the characters flippantly uses the old adage, "Those who do not learn their history are doomed to repeat it," which troubles her manic-depressive older brother, who demands that she really thinks about what she's saying.

The problem with history is that, despite what experts would have you believe, is that it's case-specific. By reading about World War II, you can only learn to prevent World War II. You can't learn to prevent Sudanese genocide or conflict in the Balkans or anything else. And even now, we probably wouldn't be able to prevent World War II again, and if we did prevent it, how would we know? It would never come to pass. History for humans is, to a certain degree, catastrophic evolution. Unpredictable until after it happens, and then it can be rationalized as inevitable, or at least, "predictable," in hindsight. This is what Taleb talks about with the black swan, and this is why it is dangerous to think that history has all the answers. It is very important to factor in the unpredictable.

Of course, people predict the future semi-accurately all the time. But they base their predictions on the knowledge that is available to them. Our knowledge is essentially limited., as is our imaginations, and it is often a simple phenomenon that blindsides us because it did not occur to us to take it into consideration because the accepted wisdom remains the accepted wisdom unless observation of new information or a wildly inventive person forces us to see otherwise.

Anyway, this is fascinating to me, so I'm hoping the book continues to be interesting after page xxvi.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

swell Saturday

Had a lovely Saturday. Walked to Jinky's for brunch despite the heat, and had some yummy pancakes while surrounded by stars of the small-screen. The raspberry-lemonade freeze was worth the cost. Then we walked down Ventura for a bit.
In the early evening went to Pasadena for the other roommate's bf's jazz concert at Caltech. Ron Stout played some mean trumpet, really solid trombones, including the roommate's bf and Jeremy Levy, who is apparently a trombone superstar. Good bassists too. Enjoyed thoroughly.
Then we went to the infamous Pie N Burger, where I ate a burger, fries, and a shake and decided I would wretch if I ate pie on top of all that. So, next time. But let me tell you, what I did eat was darn-tootin' delish.
Watched some of Kubrick's Lolita last night. I like it much better this time around than the first time I saw it. It's still waaaaay too long. But this is Kubrick to the core, very adagio.
Now today I'm staying in and writing. Yeesh. Wish me luck.

Friday, April 11, 2008

scorcher rhymes with torture... anything else?

Here in the Southland, we're expecting a weekend of record temperatures, possibly reaching 90 in the Valley. That's right. 90. In April. Not normal, not even for LA.

Scary what we've done to the world, huh?

Very much a fan of the LA Times Guide's "Best of" Lists. Very useful for a newbie to LA. Found out about a great bookstore... which I would go to if I weren't literally completely broke for the next week. We're talking no money at all. Zippo. Gas and a little niblle, and that's gonna wipe me clean. Oof.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ghost Town

Saw an early screening of this Ricky Gervais flim last minute the other night. Enjoyed it quite a lot. Definitely goes beyond its "what if The Sixth Sense were a comedy" presmise. Probably not something I'd be interested in repeat-viewing, but overall, a mighty fine comedy in a time of mighty blech comedies, despite crap title.

Keep staring at the bookshelf I have of books I've bought over the years and haven't read and wondering why I keep borrowing books from the library (case in point, I have to deal with Godwin's When A Crocodile Eats the Sun and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio before I get on to the math theory book I have on reserve and then all the things I have on my bookshelf--ex: Proust, Dickens' Bleak House, Tristram Shandy, Roots, Under the Volcano, Suite Francaise, The Human Stain, etc., etc. Also, I should be writing. Have to give this spec screenplay a good kick in the pants. Right now its belt is twisted, the pockets are turned inside-out, the knees are threadbare, and I'm fairly sure one leg's longer than the other. At this point, it really ought to be turned into a skirt. But pants it is, and I am committed to making it fit.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Had to go to Compton today to resolve a ticket that apparently never went into the system and may be put in anytime between now and February of NEXT YEAR. Screw that. I'm writing a letter.

Had a panic attack last night. Am law-abiding and non-confrontational in the extreme, and my heart races just remembering how sick with anxiety I was last night and this morning. Driving used to do that to me. It still does, if I think too much about it. That's what I both hate and am grateful for about getting older: I think far less and am thus a great deal more stable emotionally. Not quite there yet. Obviously.

Finished Brock Clarke's book. Didn't work for me. Central character was too much of a pushover, the other characters not really well-developed into anything more than figures. If it's not Dickensian or magical realism, it just doesn't seem to fully realize a place or people. Felt like a waste of a good idea.

Am now afraid will incur similar responses about my manuscript in the future, which by the way, did originally feature the Robert Frost Place as well, but will now be changed into a fictional writer's house. Considering my book is quite loopy, this should be a positive change.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Burger King botches billboard

Ugh, what's with advertisers?

Look, I'm not the grammar nazi I appear to be. I accept slang. Gotta, for instance, is a perfectly acceptable substitute in the lexicon for "got to" and "have to." I gotta go to the dentist, or I've gotta go to the dentist, either is fine with me. However, "gotta" is not a substitute or equivalent for "got a" or "have a" -- the slang simply isn't used to mean ownership; hence the two ts for the got and to. And yet, on Milbank, a huge billboard asks, "Gotta buck?" -- What the hell? Gotta isn't even shorter than "Got a." In terms of actual letters, "Got a" is actually shorter, and in terms of spaces, it's the same. So they're not saving any billboard space. Did they think it looked cooler? Or are the people in charge of creating these ads merely uneducated? I'm seriously annoyed by all of this.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

very little to report

Sorry, lots of negativity going on. Hurt my side somehow, not sure what's going on, and I'm too cheap to go to the doctor.

Love my new apartment and roommates though.

Saw Stop-Loss with friend. Good. Kind of made me feel bad about complaining.

In general weekend was uneventful, to precede craptastic week. Knock on wood for me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I've always felt effulgent sounds like a word that should mean the opposite of what it actually means. It just sounds so much like sludge. So I feel effulgent, if effulgent meant what it sounded like rather than what it is.

Obviously--frustrations compounding.

Saw an early cut of a potentially big summer comedy. Felt like a remake. Not bad, but not great. Kind of boring actually. Maybe it'll improve later, so I won't mention the movie's title... let's just say it stars one of the stars of last summer's hit comedies.

Moved. Messed up the shoulders. But my roommates are cool. That's terribly important. Also, now I have a pool. And a real bed... with two mattresses. It's weird, but since the extra mattress is sort of just living here for a while, I can't sell it, so... I deal.

It's raining right now.

Have to work hard this weekend. Maybe will go hiking as well. The next few weeks are gonna be tough financially and personally, as I have a lot of bunk going on. But I had a good idea for a short story, so... I'm gonna go work on that. TTFN, ta ta for now.
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