12.26.2006

12.07.2006

just saw that movie "Shortbus"....

I haven't cried at a movie since I don't know when, maybe never. I don't know if it would have affected me so much if I weren't such a lonely sap right at the moment, but it did. And the auto-fellatio scene alone is worth the ticket price. (I know I'm going to get a lot of crazy spam comments having just used that word, but whatever.) My only complaint that it was a little full of itself and there wasn't a strong Red-state character to dialogue with the whole free-love utopian countercultural vibe. But that aside: funny, touching, invigorating, wonderful.

12.01.2006

xmas spirit

I can't believe I'm 31 and have never known that there was a song called "Dominic The Italian Christmas Donkey." It starts like this:

Hey! Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
It's Dominick the donkey.
Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
The Italian Christmas donkey.
(la la la-la la-la la la la la)
(la la la-la la-la la-ee-oh-da)

Santa's got a little friend,
His name is Dominick.
The cutest little donkey,
You never see him kick.
When Santa visits his paisons,
With Dominick he'll be.
Because the reindeer cannot,
Climb the hills of Italy.

....and goes on exactly like that. It's horrible. Here I thought that nun song was annoying.

And when I say "annoying" and "horrible" I mean I secretly think it's the best song in the universe.

11.11.2006

i did the video for this show

...and i think it came out pretty cool. There's a teaser with some of the video segments here.

...and you can find out all the details about the show, playing through December 3 in downtown LA, here.

....unfortunately, in the process of working on it i broke my camera. So if there are any generous artistic-patron-type people out there who would like to contibute to the repair and resurrection of my beautiful, indispensible, currently-unusable DVX100, please go here.

11.09.2006

i can't stand it

really, i can't stand it anymore.

something's gotta give.

plus, i have the hiccups like you wouldn't believe. they seem really loud at 6:17 AM.

as if i needed something else to keep me from sleeping.

please.

11.04.2006

we also need a new word for.....

"i feel like my world is falling apart, but at least i now own a Nano."

10.04.2006

9.13.2006

really for real this time

Starting color correction tomorrow. Within two weeks, TA91 should be finished, finally, no dicking around. Made a lot of last minute adjustments. It's changed so much since the last time we showed it publicly to anyone. I think it rocks now. I have no idea how people will react to it. In some ways it accomplishes much more than any low-budget feature that I know of. In some ways it does none of the things that you expect a regular movie to do. One thing it indisputably does have, though: The guy who plays Lloyd from "Entourage."

9.02.2006

another otaku armageddon dream

We were being attacked by the aliens, that is ALL the aliens. A whole coalition of armored snarling creatures in assorted colors and shapes, but what was really upsetting was that among them were the Aliens from "Alien" Aliens, the Giger Aliens. Did I mention that there were aliens in this dream? Aliens. Anyway, the onslaught from the regular alien horde was one thing, because we had our own legion of superheroes and flying robot-types to fight them (I am not among them; I am just some guy on the street), but the Giger Aliens took on a new nightmarish aspect in this little dream I dreamed. They could come from anywhere, cover any distance instantly, and be utterly in your face with their spiky tail and fanged launcher-tongue thingie. I suppose this is the kind of visceral horror that the filmmakers were trying to achieve in the movies, but it was never so vivid as in my subconscious. So, while the brightly-colored Earth robot squads are clashing with the evil invading aliens in the sky, I am running around on the ground in a panic, thinking, "Where are the Giger aliens? Where are they?" The sense that they are anywhere near feels like the promise of instantaneous death. I stumble into a deserted Waldenbooks. I feel a tentative reflief there, as it seems to be far away from the battleground. Then, someone outside in the street yells something like, "There they are..." Meaning, of course, there are some Giger aliens, approaching from a distance that is entirely meaningless to them. I scramble around in a terror for a second before, yup, totally killed by the fanged launcher-tongue bursting through the Waldenbooks wall.
...My death was one of those out-of-body deaths though, because somehow the dream continued for a bit, and from a third-person omniscient distance I find out that Earth won the battle of fetishized-mecha pyrotechnics, the alien forces were repelled, and I even read my own obit on a newspaper that looked just like the New York Post.

I'm not sure what to take from this dream; it juxtaposed elements of my nerdy fantasy life with the true fear I'd probably feel if I was really on a battlefield. They always expound on the horrors of war in those anime series (e.g. Macross, Mospeda) but you never really feel it because it's all about their cool weapons and vehicles. I guess it's good to realize that for every awesome clash of colossuses there really is some ordinary citizen getting killed inside a defunct bookstore. I guess the lesson here is, even when the day comes when we really do have giant flying robots in the U.S. arsenal, war will still be a a bad thing.

8.03.2006

bone thorns

Today I was chatting with one of the dealers at a desperate table ("desperate" being the casino's term for a table which has a dealer sitting on it, but no game). She'd recently had a hip replacement, and I told her about my own surgical experiences involving the extra bone growths on my legs. "Gu ci," she said, "In Chinese means Bone Thorns." Of course the Chinese term would be much more evocative than the English medical name ("multiple exostoses" or "osteochondroma" or something like that) and slightly more beautiful than "bone spur," which always makes me think of a skeleton wearing cowboy boots.
...."Thanks," I said, "Gu ci. That's great. If I learn one new Chinese word a day I'll be able to speak properly when I'm 100."
...."It's not so hard," she replies, "I used to learn 20 new words a day. Problem is now, if I learn 20 words today, I forget 25 tomorrow."
...."Yeah," I agreed. "It's the forgetting that starts to kill you."

8.01.2006

video games do in fact make you dumb

So my co-conspirator on TA91 is hard at work on another feature film called "Half-Life." It's not completed yet, but like TA91, already has an IMDB entry, which comes with its own message board. Here are a few thread titles from that board:

"This movie has nothing to do with the game..."
"Disgrace to the game!"
"this is not the game,so the name should NOT be Half-Life."
"Everyone!! Vote this a 1! For pissing us off, fooling us....breaking our hearts, and plagerizing(name) Vote it a 1 too show your anger and love for the Half-Life video game!!"
"OMFG THE CUCKS STOLE THE CUCKING NAME OF THE ddVIDEO GAME...ONE OF THe GREATEEST OF ALL TIMES OMFG what the *beep* are youf cukign kidding m.e this is *beep* retartded. having a little azn *beep* in this movie with nothing to do with half-life. *beep* copyfright infringment myuther *beep* *beep* this *beep* movie. *beep* boycott this"

....Of course, there is not one message on the board for any of our other movies, which are all equally indie and relatively obscure, but do not share a name with a video game.

It's been a while since I hung out on a message board, and it's nice to see that there still is a a forum for idiots to come and publicly grapple with literacy. The funny thing about the Internet though, is that you never know why someone seems stupid. Maybe they're 6 and can't really type or spell yet. Maybe English is their second or third language. Or maybe video games do actually make you into a moron.

Some more gems:

"I thought this movie is finished and has been awaiting for post-production. What happened? I would think this movie might be cancelled for the year. Why not released it on DVD instead of showing it in theaters? For one thing though, I wish this movie may be re-titled "One Half-Life to Live" rather than saying "One Life to Live". It's almost enough for a soap drama." -jwtam

"When it comes to a copyrighted title, it's a question of whether or not the average consumer would confuse the one movie with the other, thus taking potential income from one copyright owner and giving it to another. In cases where there isn't likely to be any confusion of that sort, there is no copyright violation. I don't think anybody is likely to confuse some chick flick with a movie about the One Free Man. On the other hand, it IS repulsive to have the name of such an incredible game be associated with what will, no doubt, be a banal, "half-baked" movie." - bigdorkarama

"Thought that valve inc had the rights to the name "half life""... -alphadec-1

....so I'm making all these posters for about 12 years old, average. I really would like to know what's going on in their actual lives. Obviously, the game "Half-Life" is a major part of their reality. Obviously, they have bad senses of humor and reasoning skills. But they care enough to throw their "half-baked" thoughts out there. More incredibly, they feel required to defend the integrity of Valve, a fricking video game company, from "infringement" by my friend the indie filmmaker. And, although they roughly understand the concept of copyright (a major tenet of our "ownership society") they have no idea that "half-life" is a physics term, not something that Valve owns or could ever own.

Just amazing. And here's one that gets personal:

"Look at the writer/director's previous projects; there's something in there called "The Matrices". It looks like she's got plenty of experience ripping off other peoples' ideas." - genocidal monkey

YES! BECAUSE THE MATRIX IS A COMPLETELY ORIGINAL STORY. ALL KUNG-FU MOVIES, COMIC BOOKS, AND PHILIP K. DICK NOVELS, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT CAME OUT BEFORE THE MATRIX, ARE RIPPING OFF THE MATRIX. AND PARODIES SHOULD NOT EXIST. ANY PARODY THAT IS NOT "SCARY MOVIE" SHOULD BE SUED FOR INFRINGEMENT.

Honestly, I'm really tired of people not knowing that I invented the Matrix in 1993 in a rock musical that was performed in the basement of a pizza parlor. OK, so that show was seen by maybe 78 people, but the script is in the Library of Congress, for Pete's sake. So that means anything involving virtual reality and kung fu is an infringement against me, right? Geez. Maybe I should just copyright myself and the totality of my being so that people will stop bugging me, already.

7.19.2006

sound mix completed

we finished the sound design and mix for TA91. it is freaking stupendous. now all that remains is finalizing the titles and effects shots, and then somehow doing an up-rez and color correction for final mastering. and then it will be done. and then i will have the largest beer that can be acquired within the Earth's gravitational field.

7.02.2006

so i'm at this party

....sitting on a chair, with my feet propped up on another chair, half-intending to occupy both until my co-workers arrive, because this is the kind of party where chairs are precious, territory-establishing objects. But I'm not thinking that I'll fight for the feet-propping chair if someone else asks for it, I just want to casually comandeer it for as long as possible. Up comes this mophead hipster-looking white guy in a denim jacket. I think he may ask for the chair. What he does is makes a strange little whooping noise, point at something on the ground as if to distract my attention, and then grab the foot-propping chair away, again with a little nonsense noise like "Shwoo!" He takes the chair to another corner of the party, sets it down, and starts gabbing with his friends.
...now, I'm not one to make snap judgements about people based on their appearance, but this guy was obviously an asshole. It's one thing to be Too Cool to ask for a chair, instead making a big show of stealing it with your clever "what's-that-thing-on-the-ground" trick. It's another thing to do all that while sporting an obnoxious lead-singer-of-the-Strokes hairdo and making little comic book noises. I'd give him the benefit of the doubt if he was on drugs, but then again if that was the case, I'd figure him to have on some appropriately ironic T-shirt that said something like "I AM ON DRUGS" in pink block letters.
...I have another theory of this guy that is based completely on my brief impression. He probably doesn't know enough assholes in his personal life. There are certain people in LA who feel it's their job to act out the asshole at every social function, because they're a cool-rebel-rocker-actor-poker-player-whatever. They live in sheltered shmoozy environments where everyone's superficially civil to each other, or else dulled and jaded by the sterile isolation of modern life, etc. So they "shake things up" by acting in the style of jerks that they've seen on TV. They don't actually know any real assholes, but they are repelled by the fake niceness that permeates LA, and feel this is their way of Keeping It Real.
....This is why it's important to know some true assholes in your life. So you don't waste time posing as one to hide your own lack of character traits. Again, I could give mophead benefit of the doubt and believe that he was a genuine-article asshole who came from a whole family of abusive chair-stealing types. But I don't think so. He didn't seem to have the real sociopathy in him, merely a surface caricature of it. Like the kind of guy who responds to someone saying "Hi!" by lunging at them and screaming "Krakoa! Kraoka!" just to point out how meaningless the convention of saying Hello is. I'll assume that he's the bad boy in a pack of nice friends, and his friends all think he's hilarious.

6.22.2006

information & intelligence

I was surfing the blogosphere looking at articles on beef when I had an epiphany about how cheap information has become. It used to be important when I encountered a rare idea or a beautiful factoid. If I read something about the exotic mating habits of lobsters, I could put it into the mouth a character in a play to make them sound smart and inspired. The knowledge felt precious, because I had reaped the benefits from a scientists' journey to discover something obscure.

....And now? Fergetaboutit. Everyone knows a whole lot of obscure shit. I'll see your story about dog sperm with my anecdote about soy products. I read about it on the Internet. If you want the information I'll send you the link. And even though the levels of misinformation and ad-campaigns-disguised-as-information have ballooned to the point of nearly drowning out all useful knowledge on the web, the delivery systems have improved so that we now have constant, high-speed access to all this whatever. So it's easier to know, but harder than ever to care.

....And I know this to be empirically absolutely incorruptibly true, because I used to work for a search engine.

6.19.2006

i can't help it

...a friend in high school told me once, "you need to take responsibility for your emotional state," and I know that this is true; when you feel shitty, it's useless to hope that someone or something else will take the shittiness away.

But, but, but. Sometimes someone else can make my whole day. Sometimes there's a little cerebral interaction that happens, whether it's telling a well-received joke, or sharing a communicative look, that helps revalidate my breathing of air. I feel that I can hear better, speak clearer, act truer. Sometimes the spell lasts for days, a feeling of buoyancy, a dizzy sense of hope that is every bit as imaginary as the episodes of despair, so quickly substituted.

6.12.2006

neural chaff neutralized

....i'm pretty sure now that it was the sleep aid, Lunesta, that I'd taken excessively last week, causing the fuzziness. That really should've been my first guess. Although on the list of possible side effects, "anxiety and depression" rank far below "liver failure," so I wasn't really anticipating it.

...I have found lately that eating peanuts before bed helps put me to sleep without calamity. Peanuts, like turkey, are apparently a natural source of tryptophan, which I believe is spelled like that.

6.08.2006

neural chaff

In issue #16 of Justice League of America (the latest version), the arch-villain Prometheus attacks Green Lantern with something he calls "neural chaff" -- a (presumably) radiated weapon that interferes with the thought process, rendering GL incapable of focusing his will and imagination to create those big green plasma shapes that are his bread-and-butter.

Something like that is going on with me lately. I'm in good health, and starting to sleep more regularly, but over the past week I've been having these weird moments where my head feels full of fuzz and I can't quite process information or focus on simple things. Or rather, doing simple things feels like much more of an accomplishment than it should.

Mind you, none of this affects the performance of my duties at work and the daily routines of life, because they are just that: routine. It bothers me, though, to feel inarticulate, unable to get words and thoughts together. My imagination and wit are my strongest attributes in this life (as opposed to say, my dazzling cheekbones) so without them I'm pretty much totally without game.

I've felt like this before, but that was back in high school and my early 20's, and seemed like normal angst at the time. Since then I've made big strides towards mental maturity and social eptitude. But lately, I have these attacks of regression.

It usually passes, but sometimes it takes hours, or a particularly intense session of attempted Sudoku-solving, to get my brain to work right again.

In the midst of these moments of fog I get anxious that I'm having some kind of nervous breakdown, but I don't think that's what's really going on. Like any good psychiatry-, Prozac- and religion-fearing introvert, I have tried to self-diagnose and have narrowed it down to a few possibilities:

a) I'm frustrated with the extremely dragged-out process of finishing TA91, and its unfinishedness is feeding a sense of lack of control over my life.

b) I'm feeling very emotional over a certain person, and my attempts to deny that emotionality due to her extreme unrequitability (if that's not a word, it should be) are causing a kind of Moebius loop in my head that interferes with my thought processes.

c) I am a completely normal 30-year-old with the same anxieties as everyone else.

d) Prometheus is attacking me with neural chaff to prevent my metamorphosis into a superhuman being.

For the sake of pure excitement, here's hoping for "d)".

6.01.2006

going for some kind of absolute something

I'm in a blue mood, and I'm trying to shake myself out of it, and I just thought that would be a good title for a post. Or an essay about blogging. Or a blog about consciousness. Or a poem about lint.

5.28.2006

that Red Stripe commercial is hilarious

"You are VERY ugly." "Now you are beautiful!" "Hooray Beer!"

....That's what I'm talking about.

5.11.2006

i.t.a.b.a.l.i.o.

....a former supervisor at the casino, now fugitive from justice, was on America's Most Wanted last Saturday night. He's suspected of killing his wife. And, for my part, I considered him one of the nice floormen.

....I saw a super-cute Japanese movie yesterday, "Linda Linda Linda," about a band of high school girls who recruit a Korean exchange student to sing the title song at the school festival, despite the fact that she doesn't speak Japanese very much good. The song they sing at the end, is, of course, awesome, and is, of course, stuck in my head, so now I have to find it, although it is not available through the usual channels, which means, already, hours wasted looking vainly through various Korean and Japanese sites looking for a downloadable mp3, and will probably end with some sort of fumbling transaction involving an overpriced import CD. It's so much work being a nerd!

....OK, we're all familiar with the awkward thing at parties where people make excuses to leave a conversation, or ignore you so they don't have to even start small talk with you. In LA there's a funny variation, where people START conversations with you With The Intention Of Walking Away Quickly. They come straight at you,...with about half of their full attention, eyes darting elsewhere, say some bullshit and then walk away like they've got something more important to do. It's like, if you were in such a hurry to get away from me why walk up to me in the first place? I'm sure someone smarter than me has given a name to this behavior, it's fairly widespread.

...I completed a final "revision" on TA91 today, and feel it has at last reached a solid state of coherent weirdness that will propel it into cult film history. If the frigging sound could get done, we'd be just about ready to ship this puppy out.

...Happy Mother's Day, not in general, but specifically to My Mom, because I know she reads this hooha.

5.04.2006

everything would be just fine if....

1) I never dreamed about work. Dreaming about work makes me feel that I am old and my imagination has decayed. Also, letting thoughts of those horrible people into my private time feels somehow like a major violation.
2) I was somehow selected to write and direct the Green Lantern movie.
3) I learned to look on the bright side; there's really a lot to recommend my current life, including a regular job, a place to live, some artistic accomplishments, ridiculously good health. If I merely focused on all the things that were Not Wrong all the time, I would be a pretty self-satisfied smiling bastard.
4) Someone would hurry up and fall in love with me.
5) I was not envious, or jealous (I get those confused). Although I realize that the grass is always greener, I still get twinges of anxiety over other people's accomplishments, possessions, charms. I'm the most envious person I know. I envy people for having crap I don't even want, and girlfriends I would never be able to stand.
6) I had an invisible force field that could protect me from harm.
7) I had another, internal, invisible force field that protected me from the side effects of drug & alcohol consumption.
8) I had a decent shotgun mic to go with my DVX100.
9) They brought back "Misfits of Science."
10) All you needed, really, in fact, and without any need for second-party validation, was love.

5.03.2006

i may be taking this milf thing a bit too far...

...but after watching her on "The Daily Show," I've decided that Madeline Albright is kind of a babe.

5.01.2006

a note on hygiene

My laptop computer must be the filthiest thing in my whole room. It is the one thing that never gets washed, dusted or vacuumed. It has been all around the city with me and sat on all kinds of crusty surfaces. I type on it in a feverish, compulsive way, whenver the urge strikes me, regardless of what kind of junk might be on my hands. The accumulated oils and pressure from my fingertips have managed to completely erode away the A, the S, the I, the O and the N from the keyboard, and the D, C and L are all fading fast. Plus I just sneezed right onto the the monitor, and didn't think to wipe it off. I should be embarrassed by this, but somehow the thought of it, a heavy-usage microbial layer covering this ostensibly immaculate piece of technology, makes me a little happy.

4.24.2006

another two bite the dust

My housemates got married today. It was really pretty nice. I mean I've never been to a wedding that was less than nice, since I've never been to one that was disrupted by runaway bride or Dustin Hoffman or gunfire or whatever. But at this one I particularly enjoyed the food, and the scenery, and the entertaining last-minute replacement DJ who kept saying "OK it's time to get this party really started!" in a monotone near-parody of DJ patter.
...And, I like that they're married now, after hearing the planning of it for the last year and change. I'm sort of in shock that it actually happened. I've never lived with a married couple before that wasn't my parents. It's sort of an honor to have lived through this major life change with them. And they're a lovely pair; they hardly fight, are awful nice, both adorable, and seem just different and alike enough that they will make it for the long haul. Plus they wash a lot of my dishes and take out the majority of my garbage. It's like they are my parents. Whoa.

4.21.2006

what the hell is going on up in this country?

So they charged the woman who heckled Bush and the Chinese president with a misdemeanor for "intimidating a foreign official."

Ironic, because she probably came here looking forward to our tolerance for unpopular political views and free speech.

I just think, what an enormously brave woman. I didn't even know the Chinese president was here because I was too busy watching "Real Housewives of Orange County," but I fully understand her action. If you know that the world's stupidest and cruellest head of state is going to meet with the leader of the world's most dangerously ambitious country, well, a concientious person just really has to do something. Because there's no way Bush should be allowed to have that meeting undisrupted. What about Bush has shown that he can conduct ANY foreign relations without threatening invasion? At best, he was probably asking Hu for tips on how to keep secret political prisoners.

I just hope he didn't show Hu his boom-stick. It's only a matter of time before Bushy wags his boom-stick at the wrong person, and we're all gonna get nuked.

4.19.2006

what the hell am i doing?

I just don't know sometimes.
....Supposedly, I'm on vacation. But I just signed up to work tomorrow, because work is my crack.
....I've been reasonably productive on this vacation. Finalized a good part of my movie, wrote a good chunk of this screenplay. The problem is, whenever I start to get productive, I realize that I should be doing this all the time. I should be writing, shooting, obsessing, hustling, doing the things that ambitious people do. Doing the things that people who will make another movie in their lifetimes do.
....Work, my personal angst, mashed potatoes or french fries....they're all just distractions really. Distractions that together comprise a well-rounded sane life, free of artistic delusions of grandeur.
....I don't know, for example, if I ever would want a child. I don't know if I'll ever learn a new skill. Although I definitely know how to procrastinate, I don't really know how to take a vacation. I don't know what the hell I am doing.

(disclaimer for the preceding angst: there are two people in my household getting married this week.)

4.13.2006

confessions

...this is a violation of my usual one-blog-post-a-day rule, but I just had to tell the world that I'm watching the best Jennifer Love Hewitt movie ever! "Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber," in which she plays, well, a sociopathic social climber ad exec (in San Francsico!). Usually I flip past the Oh! channel, but something about the title tugged at me. Man, I never realized that chick can act! She's a revelation as the woman who wants to get to the big party By Any Means Necessary. And the script is filled with such great contemporary barbs, e.g. "I thought you were a princess from Korea!" "He had that lasered off....I think." Love, you are my hero.
....I also would like to mention that you can see some pretty raunchy stuff on those "women-oriented" cable channels. I don't think you can see simulated cunninlingus on any non-Cinemax cable channel, but they have it on Oh!. You can also see a lot of butt, generally of the male variety. Is it because it's for women? Sometimes the double standard works in mysterious ways.

anxiety/running out

running out of things to talk about
running out of mystery
running out of potential
running out of drugs
running out of excuses
running out of ways to talk around the subject
there is a sexy window that either closed or has not yet opened
if you are not the greatest thing in the universe than indeed what have i to live for?

4.12.2006

maybe it's in my head....

....but I think that "The Unit" is a pretty good show. I'm a fan of David Mamet, and it's thrilling to get a new dose of his distinctive snippy-speak on a weekly basis. There aren't many shows where the writing voice in itself gives me a charge. "The West Wing" had it for a while, but eventually all the movie references and run-on sentences became just silly. Joss Whedon on "Buffy" definitely had it; that show had me tuning in just to listen to the characters talk. And "NYPD Blue" for the first five years or so definitely had its own language, one that made you feel a part of something, if you understood what the hell they were talking about.
...but anyway, "The Unit." It's really quite fun. Last night's episode involved the team planting a bug on an Iranian ambassador, a visually-unexciting errand that, on every other military-tech show, would be ruined with superfluous jargon and fucked-up MTV editing. But Mamet just does that good playwright thing, establishing character dynamics, incrementally raising the stakes, and having people constantly jawing with that artificial but strangely alluring jibber-jabber that he does. No one gets shot or explodes. There's a shot of a really cool knife. And it's way more exciting than all that 24/CSI crap ever is, IMO.
....it's also almost absurdly topical, because it's a counter-terrorism unit that deals with things like Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. But unlike with every other show that is cashing in on the war(s), I have trust in this show's writer, and feel that the subject matter is in strangely capable hands, for no more valid reason than the fact that he also wrote "Glengarry Glen Ross."
....I'm not looking forward to that episode about the female suicide bombers, though.

4.10.2006

notes for a future casino movie 1

...One of the things that is so particular and untranslatable about the Cali casino experience is how the people are completely non-rational. Their special mix of entitlement, superstition, and sociopathy makes it impossible for them to recognize any rule of law or common sense. The other day, some player asks my co-worker whether or not his bet has action from the bank. A factual question, with a factual answer: "Yes, $400." However, after his bet loses, the player decides that it's my co-worker's fault, because she gave the factual answer but didn't recommend how to play the hand accordingly (advice which we never ever give, btw) and proceeds to scream at her about if for the next two hours. And not only is it her fault that he lost one hand, it's her fault that he loses the next $8000 that he goes on to throw away at the table.
...It's enough to make you not want to answer anyone's questions without a complete psych history. I mean, you never know with these people. You could give them the time of the day and the next thing is, "I LOSE $10,000! SINCE YOU TELL ME IT'S 9:30 I LOSE EVERY HAND! WHERE IS YOUR SUPERVISOR? NEVER ANSWER WHEN I ASK YOU WHAT TIME IT IS! I LOSE TOO MUCH MONEY!"
...You can elaborate on this stuff, but I swear you can't make it up.

4.07.2006

stupid movie season

....it's that time again in Los Angeles when we start to look forward to the year's big summer movies and the euphoria and sense of well-being that typically accompanies them. Just as the weather turns brighter, monolithic billboards rise up to blot out the sun and remind us that not only is this The Movie You Have Been Waiting For Your Entire Life, but also that This Movie Now Has A Catchy 2 or 3-Character Alphanumeric Acronym To Improve Its Popularity In Non-English-Speaking Countries. (What are they going to call the sequel to "Titanic?" T2 2? T2II? Tit2?)
...Even though I have a good feeling that "Brick" is going to be the only good American movie to appear in a theater this year, I'm probably gonna go see the Mission Impossible movie, just because it is impossible to make a completely bad movie with that theme song. Also will check out that X3 crap, even though Brett Ratner is a hack and has nothing better to do but stalk me. I have too much love for the X-people not to go, and I just got all geeked out looking at the Wikipedia entry and seeing that they are including some relatively obscure characters like Arclight and Psylocke (whom they even cast correctly with some hapa Asian-European chick, woohoo!). I don't know about that Superman movie. It looks kind of gay. I mean, I'm kidding, And I'm not a homophobe. But really, it does.
...A new class of tasteless summer blockbuster that I'll definitely not see is the "Movie Based On 9/11." There are two of these fuckers coming out. WHAT A TERRIBLE IDEA. I watched the trailer for "United 93" online. It's utterly boring. Except for the part where you realize....Oh yeah! It's based on the most terrible day of all of our lives! Pay ten dollars to relive it again why don't you? It's not that I'm against making films about real life events or major tragedies....it's just that, thanks to all that video camera footage, the most horrifying film based on that day has already been made, and we've all seen it a hundred times. The idea that any filmmaker working in the studio system could somehow add anything to our feeling and understanding about that day is, at the risk of repeating myself, IDIOTIC. Unless, somehow, the filmmakers had and incorporated new information about what happened on that flight, but in that unlikely case the info should be made public and not put in a movie that we have to pay for.
....Or maybe I'm being too harsh. I'll bet someone will walk out of one of these movies and gain a new perspective on our troubled world. That person will think, "Gee, I really didn't think about it too much when I saw that plane crashing into the World Trade Center...but now that I've seen a film by An Important Director that helps bring to light the human tragedy of that event, I now understand that it actually happened. Boy, that sure makes my petty disputes with Nicole look silly by comparison. I'm going to rededicate my life to becoming the next Mother Teresa, or perhaps playing her in movies."
...I think I will see that "Take The Lead" movie though. It looks sexy.

4.05.2006

P.S. to last rant

....I like how reviews are using the word "mash-up" to describe the movie's stupefying genre-crossing. Maybe this newfangled mash-up thing will end up being the keyword that saves us from centuries of dumbness.

comedy & drama

I just saw "Brick," which is a completely great movie in every way. The basic idea is an LA detective noir set in a modern-day high school. Sort of Encyclopedia Brown where everything looks like Details magazine. Anyway, it's a great flick, and one of the simple great things about it is that is funny and serious at the same time. I mean, in an alert-the-media kind of way.

The separation of "comedy" and "drama" is one of those things that, while inarguably fundamental to our culture, is, and has always been, totally stupid. It's a particularly acute stupidity in Los Angeles, where the words are repeated ad nauseum, meaning nothing, serving only the shorthand economics of the business and the classification system at Blockbuster. It spawns all sorts of categorical nonsense, actors who are only good at comedy, writers who are only good at drama, and TNT's continuing campaign to define and claim "drama" as Their Brand. It makes everyone dumber.

As I (poorly) understand them, the old-school definitions of Comedy & Tragedy have some usefulness towards planning one's plot mechanics, but the split of Comedy & Drama means NOTHING. No one has ever agreed with me that "NYPD Blue" was at one time the funniest show on television, but it was, imho.

So when there's a movie that gets both things to happen simultaneously, it's a welcome shock for me. And "Brick" is not, as I see it, just a serious movie with funny bits. Because of the wonderful conceit of its high school setting, the whole thing is funny. It's so absurd that these kids are doing and saying these things, it's like conceptual comedy. It's also about the deathly serious things that high schoolers have to deal with, yet without the whiny sense of importance that most teen dramas seem to be striving for.

I'd give an example, but I think it would be lost in the telling. It's like, you know how in high school there was some drama queen who had really amusing personality tics but you knew she was a sad case because her family was so horrible, you just wanted to save her from her train wreck but never really got around to it because she was too busy annoying you with her knowledge of New Kids on the Block trivia? Kind of like that. Not that you don't know whether to laugh or cry, but you're doing both as the same time, all the time.

4.01.2006

perfect end to perfect day

So I'm having another draining day at the $25-$100 limit table and am looking forward to going home. It's already quitting time for my co-worker we'll-just-call-her-Tomato-San. She's on her way out the door and she walks by me to go to the restroom, stopping briefly to hand me her bag to watch over. (How I got appointed to be the bag-man I'm not sure; I was trying so hard to shed my image as the Guy Who Dutifully Watches Your Stuff While You Are Doing Other Things) But instead of just handing me her bag, in her hurry, this sweet and lovely girl SMASHES ME IN THE NUTS WITH IT.

To be fair, she was very apologetic once she got out of the restroom.

I'm not the kind of guy who points to "metaphors for my whole life," but that was a metaphor for my whole frickin' life, man.

3.30.2006

still can't sleep

Lately, the most anxious part of my day is the time between 3-7 AM when I am trying to put myself to bed. I am loathe to overuse the alcohol or the Tylenol PM because I don't want to be addicted to either of those things. I do have a fairly sedentary lifestyle, but even when I exercise or do something exhausting, I still hit an early-morning point of restlessness. Sometimes I'm a little happy about something, usually a little sad. Either way it takes a long time to knock myself out.
....I work in a place that never ever stops, so there's no feeling of closing up shop when I go home for the day. On my days off, I watch helplessly as all my normal acquaintences start to drift towards bed at civil hours, like midnight. I cannot conceive of being asleep at midnight. I don't think my body chemistry would allow it at this point.
....Most other parts of my life are pretty agreeable. I am active and occupied during the day, I have lots of things to look forward to, I'm creatively stimulated, I work enough to be financially secure, I like most of the food that I eat. It's just the sleep thing that vexes me.
....There are all these projects uncompleted, that I can work on at any hour of the day, but that will always be the case. I'll never reach a point of having finished Everything. So that anxiety in itself is not the problem.
....I know that my brother suffers from the same problem, so maybe it's some kind of psychological glitch. As introspective and over-contemplative as we are, it's hard to get the brain to calm down enough to enter sleep mode. There are just too many random thoughts to think and imagined scenarios to worry about.
....Then there's the obvious fact that I miss having someone to sleep next to. It seems that the grass is always greener there. There are other anxieties that come from having another body in bed, that made me appreciate sleeping on my own for a while. But that phase passed, and now I'm back to longing for the sedative effect of holding and being held.
....While the Winter Olympics were on, I didn't have this problem, because I could always tranquilize myself by watching curling, which is the dullest, most relaxing sport ever played. I'd put on the TV sleep timer and zzzzzzz. As of this writing I still have no idea what happens at the end of a curling match, or how, in fact, they end.

3.26.2006

conversation killer

In college, anytime anyone said something funny, some theater major had to ruin it by saying, "that should be a sketch! for our sketch show! we should recreate THAT EXACT MOMENT THAT JUST HAPPENED FOR THE FURTHER GLORY OF MY SKETCH COMEDY GROUP!"

now, in LA, the line is, "That should be a short film! That's a short right there!"

and it's true, almost anything that has ever happened could be the subject for some sort of short film. but that doesn't mean you have to say it. it doesn't give you "dibs." just make a mental note and try to stay with the conversation that's currently happening, OK?

3.23.2006

3.21.2006

the finest double entendre ever

"I'd probably take a minute to just suck in his aura, and find out what's in his head."

- Tommy Lee-obsessed woman on the Dr. Phil show, in response to the question, "What would you do if you ever met Tommy Lee in person?"

Genius. Utter genius.

3.20.2006

in theory, i like horror movies...

....but i never really watch them because I'm squeamish. So I've started writing this horror screenplay because I had an idea I thought was hip and cool. I like the genre in theory because it seems to be the one in which filmmaking skill is the key to getting tangible results. That is to say: scariness is less subjective than what is funny or what is dramatic, and even with a shitty script you can make a scary movie by crafty use of the actors, shot composition, editing, etc. It's a very visceral thing that depends on your ability to not show things until the right moment, and then have the monster appear, but only at that right moment. At that point you've either thrilled the audience or you haven't, and because it relies on inciting that instinctual fear/surprise mechanism, it's a little easier to tell whether you've been successful.....as opposed to tragedy and comedy, which appeals to higher brain functions and thus is highly, highly dependent on individual taste. So it makes sense to me that Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson went from making these small horror movies to being entrusted with the super high-profile megafilms....like them or not, they are in control of their craft and know those tricks which engage the audience. And once you know those, I think you're in a much better position to use them to create comedy and drama.
...but i also hate the sight of blood. So my horror script borrows heavily from the 3 or 4 horror movies I've actually seen, including "Ringu," "Blair Witch," and, um, well....ok, stretching the definiton a bit, those two scary episodes of "The Greatest American Hero," being "The Beast In Black," and the one with the electric octopus.

3.18.2006

the most depressing sentence i read today

"After the dismal summer of 2004, when organizers were forced to scrap Lollapalooza as a two-day traveling road show due to sluggish ticket sales, Farrell SOLD THE LOLLA BRAND to Austin-based Capital Sports & Entertainment, which stages the annual Austin City Limits Festival in September, with the idea of giving his baby a serious makeover."

Emphasis mine.

Hopefully for his next enterprising venture, Perry Farrell will have the brilliant idea to sell "Jane Says" to Jane's Military Vehicles & Logistics, or perhaps to Spain's Resorts & Tourism Board, so that they can, in their infinite acquisitional wisdom, give his baby a serious makeover.

3.09.2006

sid & susie

Tonight i went to see Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs sing covers at the Hotel Cafe on Cahuenga. They both sang angelically, covering the Beatles, the Who, the Velvet Underground, all that good shit. Matthew Sweet looks exactly like my friend J. Rhodes. Susanna Hoffs looks sorta like Sheryl Crow's ridiculously good-looking cousin. HOTTIE! That is all I have to salivate.

3.07.2006

Dead Wife Syndrome

I just watched "Love Liza" on IFC, and while it was a pretty good flick, it made me wonder how many times, in the history of formulaic filmmaking, a screenwriter's been sitting around trying to work on the story, trying to give the main character a compelling problem, and someone says, "oh, just give him a dead wife."

I mean, Robin Williams has practically made a career off of dead wives (Dead Poets/Fisher King/Good Will Hunting). Mel Gibson made the transition to big-time acting with his dead wife in Lethal Weapon. The Fugitive. Kiss of Death. Solaris. The number of lightweight leading-man vehicles which have been elevated with the dead wife trick, it's really staggering.

And, in these movies, she's always a maximum babe. The only film I can think of where the dead wife is sort of average-looking is About Schmidt, and in that one he felt liberated by the death.

I can't think of many dead-husband movies offhand that milk the death in the same way. Usually when they need a leading-actress to earn the acting money they do the Lost Child Thing, which is just as cloying. ("My Baaaaaby. My Sssssson." Poor Julianne Moore.)

....Semi-on this topic, I just watched "The Unit" by David Mamet on CBS last night. What a strangely disjunctive thrill to hear the MametSpeak on TV. Reminded me of when I was first all turned on by The West Wing, before the chatterbox style turned self-parodying. I think (hope) the Mamet style will not so soon wear out its welcome....anyway, the show is all about husbands and wives in a military setting and you just know sooner or later someone on the Unit is gonna be killed. But I get the feeling that rather than wallowing in the grief in that contrived, Emmy-chasing sort of way, Mamet's going to address it with some pithy, borderline-bitchy summation, like, "well, that happened...."

3.06.2006

the worst day at work ever

I started today in a dandy mood, and then I went to work. Today's shift really set a new high bar for awful days. Not only did I lose a ridiculous amount of money, I was squashed between these two drunk-ass Mexican dudes (one of whom had not been home for two days, and was super-rank) who basically dripped spittle on me and got in my face for eight straight hours. There was no backup person in the casino so I couldn't get up for more than a few minutes at a time. Everyone was angry at me, as usual, even though I was giving money away in fistfuls. I lost 4 out of every 5 hands I was involved in, which was almost every single hand. The table was so crowded and the action so heavy I couldn't eat, drink, move, or hear myself think. I just had to sit there and focus on digging a deeper and deeper hole for myself.
....The only bright side of the whole day was that I got to mouth off to some of the players, because, after a point, I couldn't care less. I've never been in a real physical fight with anyone, but today I got to act like I was going to start one. The drunk smelly guy is so smashed and obviously disgusting that I don't incur any job risk in treating him like the dog he is. He kept "accidentally" knocking over my chips, trying to say sorry, pat me on the back, to which I enthusiastically replied "Don't Talk. Don't touch me. Back up. Right now." There are definitely customers that I couldn't get away with saying this to, and I'm careful around them. But the vast majority of players are such stupid insecure pathetic losers that it doesn't really matter how you talk to them -- you can be nice, or you can talk to them like they're a dog --- in the end, it doesn't affect how they act around you at all.

3.02.2006

itabalio

....we had a very generous new contribution to the TA91 post-production fund, but that photo printer is still up for grabs! It could be yours! Plus an authentic BeardPapa keychain!

....my frontalot videos can be found on Google Video, along with, well, almost anything that's ever been video-ed. But I still believe it is cool.

....inspired by that awwwwwwesome video with the two chinese dudes, I sang "I Want It That Way" to myself in the car today. Like, four times.

....things i'm waiting on/looking forward to: finding out if my short got into any of 3 filmfests, finding out if my grant application will make it past the first tier, planning new production of "Vapor Tales," my federal tax refund, those damn TA91 sound mixes, the end of the Bush regime, the fight scenes in the next Spider-Man movie, Korean White Day (March 14) and Black Day (April 14), my housemates' wedding (April 23), summer, the right confluence of factors to make another movie, the right moment to tell a big secret, someone to explain to me when the right moment to buy a house is, and a few other extremely nervewracking good things that i can't get into here....

2.23.2006

i think....

....we should change the classifications from "single" and "married" to "has a lot of porn spam in his/her friendster mailbox" and "is obsessed with tiling."

...i also don't understand how in the world anyone would ever buy anything called "Urine Gone."

...i know, i know, there's a civil war on. don't remind me.

2.22.2006

R.I.P. Chris Penn

They're showing "Footloose" on HBO right now, and all I can say is....let's hear it for the boy. Let's hear it for my man.

That part where Kevin Bacon teaches him to dance is like a clean bright white T-shirt that says "I Was Gay When Gay Wasn't Cool" in big block letters.

2.20.2006

grr.

I need a hug. those gamblers give me a headache.
....
I also need a little bit more money to pay for the final post-production work on TA91. Would anyone like to give me some? (My parents are disallowed from responding to this gaucheness) But really, there's a paypal button right over there ==>
........
The first person to respond gets a free, unopened HP photo printer. I'm serious.
.............
This is one of those blog moments where half of me hopes to really have a readership, and the other half would be happy if no one reads this shit at all.

2.14.2006

things i learned about people i went to high school with while searching myspace & friendster on valentine's day

* the girl with whom my best friend once went on an ill-advised date to the symphony....now apparently is a fashion designer in Italy.
* the girl who once, during a end-of-the-school-year party, might have had sex in my bathroom (not with me) is now a social worker.
* the girl whose dog i once dogsat over the summer....now a big lesbian. and by big, i mean, mentions it like three times on her myspace page, so it's not like i'm outing her or something. she was arguably the prettiest girl who went to my school at the time, now the prettiest girl on my myspace bookmark list.
* the girl who was kind of funny and crazy and dyed her hair a lot....got married, and divorced, and still seems kind of funny and crazy and dyes her hair a lot.
* that girl who i didn't know too well but thought she was fiiiiiiine, is still fiiiiiiine.
* that girl who was Rebecca Romijn is still Rebecca Romijn, and seems to be "in a relationship."

2.12.2006

a haiku for dick cheney

dumb, drunk, armed old dicks
i'll drink wine with the quails
on the day you die

2.10.2006

which mc was that?

A video I made for my good friend MC Frontalot is up on his site now. Most of the footage was taken with my cute little cell phone. Frontalot himself does not actually appear as a mass of indistinct blocks in person, much as he might want to. I welcome both comments and indifference.

2.08.2006

rock musical redux

Very nearly finished the revamping of our old rock musical "Vapor Tales." It really does help to revisit scripts 10 years later (oh my god it has really been 10 years since I first wrote that shit) and the beautiful thing about plays, as opposed to films, is that you can actually fix your mistakes. And maybe get a chance to perform them again and thereby revisit your youth, except without all the bad dramatic structure, unfunny references and obscure metaphors that you thought were deep at the time. I'm really looking forward to getting this up again, somewhere, anywhere. But I do need a new title.

2.06.2006

the neverending battle vs. evil continues, because that is what neverending battles do by definition

Disclaimer: This is another one of those Big Epiphany at Work Posts....
...I moved to Los Angeles partly to pursue filmmaking, but also because living in the Bay Area was a little too easy. Close to my parents, close to everything I knew and had grown up with, I had the easy option of falling into a comfortable, sheltered, family-and-friends-supported lifestyle. I know a lot of people would kill to have this option, but I wanted to disillusion myself of the cheese-and-sundried-tomato comfort zone. From my time in UCLA, I knew that Los Angeles felt more challenging, that the city was populated with desperation and contradiction that my upbringing had largely shielded me from. Basically, I wanted to see the evil shit that was really going on in the world.
...Call it slumming or dilletante-ishness, whatever. I didn't actually wander the streets looking for trouble, but I enjoyed living in Lala land because it felt more on the edge of things, things which would increase my catalog of experience. And as time passed, living here became mainly about the day-to-day routine and I forgot about my fetishistic fascination with whatever "human struggle" I imagined was going on here.
...Yesterday I went to a Superbowl party where I didn't know many people, which was fine. There was something strange about the party though, and I couldn't quite figure out what it was. Then it hit me: everyone was being nice to each other. Not to me, specifically, because I'm a recluse, but there was a baseline civility that permeated the party. And that is weird to me now. And I realized, then, that without really noticing it, I'd found what I had been looking for in Los Angeles.
....Because I work next to some of the most evil people on the planet and if you'd told me they existed before I had my job I would have said you were making it up.
...Now, of course, no group can qualify as "the most evil people." There's simply too many kinds of evil! But I think it can be said that within the California casino gambling community there are people who represent everything that can be wrong about people. Sort of like the credit card commercial where the football players are "metaphors" for the various levels of fraud protection? See, sitting at the table on any given night, you have a veritable color palette of human evil, weakness and stupidity. You have Greedy Guy. You have Sociopathic Wants To Punch You In The Face Guy. You have Say Anything To Take All Your Money Girl. You have Guy Who Acts All Nice And Then You Find Out He Buried His Spouse In The Backyard. You have people who can only communicate through screaming, and people who can only talk if they are lying. You have drug dealers, con artists, gangsters, and whores of all kinds (but generally not the sexual-relations kind). And, as I've found, they're mainly just insane, badly-brought-up people doing their thing, and that's cool.
...But there is another, serious kind of evil that can be plainly observed at work, one which I definitely was fortunate to NOT experience in my youth. It's hard to articulate, but I believe it is the Evil that makes the World Go Round. Basically, it is People Who Use Their Power & Privilege To Fuck You. It is not behavior exhibited by the obviously criminal types, aptly, because there's no law against it. It's mainly the shit pulled by the people who would be deemed by our society as "successful"; store owners, business men, day traders, salespeople, heirs and heiresses and trophy wives. They, in my mind, are the real problem, because they think they can get away with anything. They never ask, but demand everything they get. They scream at the weak and helpless, and take offense at everything. They make up scenarios in which they are wronged by the "help" (the working-class and whatnot) and take action to make life miserable for those people. They are always right. They never apologize for anything, because it is always someone else's fault. Any consequences of their actions, they deflect those consequences to other people who had nothing to do with it. They take stuff from you, never give it back, and never give you anything (because you, in your charming middle-class naivete, believed it maintains the social fabric to lend your jacket to one who asks for it because they are cold, not realize that this is really a sign of weakness, and a primary method of wealth/assets accumulation for the already-very-very-rich).
...So when I say these people are metaphors, I mean all of this should sound familiar. I think we've all wondered what really goes on in the corporate boardrooms and the warlord's strongholds where they make decisions that really screw over tons and tons of people. Tax Cuts for the Wealthy anyone? War to increase Oil Company Profits? Cash In on the Real Estate Market after a Hurricane? Cut Public Education and Increase Spending on New Improved Ways to Kill All The Poor People?
...Do people do these things? People do. And you can say I'm overdramatizing the situation if you want, but I now feel truthful in saying, I see those people every day.

2.03.2006

asking for it

And then of course after blogging about how great everything is going, I got sick. No kind of deathly illness, to be sure...probably related to the difference in drinking water between the Bay Area and LA.....but anyway, I couldn't eat anything but crackers and water for about two days there. But then, somehow, I ate a bowl of oatmeal at work, and was restored. So everything is now, with cautious optimism, cool.

Have I mentioned that I love the JACK-FM format? Not only is it like an ipod for 30somethings, it's like the ipod filled with songs that myself I'm too embarassed to even have on my ipod. Yesterday they played these songs consecutively during my rush hour commute:

"Beast of Burden" - The Rolling Stones
"The Heat of the Moment" - Asia

...and one other one which I can't remember and was not so classic-rocky. But the point is, "Beast of Burden" is the song that I listened to so much in crappy bars in unrequited lovedrunk situtations that I got over it as a song, and I'd forgotten how much it kills me every time. Only thru the serendipity of a radio playlist did I again realize how great it is. And the Asia song is, of course, "The 40 Year Old Virgin" theme song, and reminds me of that, although I would never waste the 30-odd megabytes putting it on a CD for myself.

Generosity. That's what I want out of a DJ, or even a DJ-simulator playlist-selection algorithm.

2.01.2006

itabalio

....i'm in a rare, surely temporary state of having my shiznit together, so i wanted to record the moment before i find something new to complain about. a few recent little accomplishments:

- finally found a place in Alhambra that serves dim sum, eat-in and take-out, til 1 AM. this is like a dream come true.
- made it from Berkeley to LA on one tank of gas (about a 10-gallon tank). love that Prius.
- finished a cut of a video for MC Frontalot's "Which MC Was That?" also doing a promo video for my wrestler friends, the Santino Brothers.
- saw the folks over the weekend, wished Mom a happy birthday, and finally threw out three boxes of old ERP props that had been sitting in the attic doing nothing for the past five years.
- had a clever idea while driving for how to revive some of our best songs from the ERP shows; was thusly inspired to finish the overhaul of "Vapor Tales" that I've been meaning to do for a year now; am thinking that it needs a new title, as "Vapor Tales" turns out to be not only the name of a Rush album, but a newsletter for model airplane hobbyists.
- saw a good old friend at the Pub in Berkeley, had a good talk, and went out afterwards for some truly satisfying Top Dogs. Pink's can go suck eggs.
- got an LA city business tax registration for this film production company i supposedly own, and am finally gonna register those DBA names that i should've done last year. you can register 3 business names simultaneously for only a little more than it takes to register one name; i've got two names so far and am thinking about a third. this is all part of that "becoming a legitimate film/videomaking professional" thing that i've been idiotically avoiding up til now.
- have good reason to think that the new sound mixes for TA91 will actually be completed this week.
- got a rough draft of my brother's novel on my laptop; haven't read a whole book in about 3 years, so this is a little daunting.
- finally learned what "sang-froid" means. this is going to be the word of 2006, as "schadenfreude" was my word of 2005.

Happy New Year.

1.26.2006

web presents

I'm working on an MC Frontalot video right now, but I didn't realize til today that the "Yellow Lasers" video I made with Jen is already on Ifilm as well as other musty corners of the web. And it's only gotten, oh, quadruple the views as my other short on Ifilm.

It's described as a "fan video," I assume because of the Asian preoccupation with pretty fans with flowers on them. No, seriously, parts of the video are a bit hacky in retrospect. And those guys in the stormtrooper armor? Have no idea who they are. I hope they don't sue me. I'm only a fan.

In other nerdy news....and I really don't have the words to describe how much I feel about this....there is a new Robotech series on the horizon.

O. M. G.

living dangerously vs. not

This is my Big Theory of Life for this week: when you have love in your life, a stable relationship, the peace of someone waiting at home for you, life becomes much more pragmatic. You focus on doing things correctly, accomplishing your errands, maximizing convenience for yourself, because all that matters at the end of the day is getting back home alive and going to sleep next to your companion. When you don't have that, you can live life a little more dangerously, and even if you don't, you are always aware of the possibility that you could be. The "emotional content" (to use Bruce Lee's phrase) of the things you do is a little more important. Mostly, you interact with other people with a little more eagerness, a desire to impress perhaps, the attempt at least to make every interaction a significant one. Whereas, if you're coupled up, other people are exactly that: other. You still interact with them of course, but your heart does not hang on every word they say. If they piss you off, you can probably get over it. If you piss them off, you might not even notice.
....When I'm by myself, the desire for experience is keener. I want to stay out late, take long winding routes to get places, plan elaborate ways of doing something simple. And lately, I hate sleeping.
....Of course, this theory varies a lot depending on how stable your relationship is, or how boring you personally are. A tumultous romantic relationship causes a lot of non-pragmatic things to happen. A single person does not necessarily take any risks with their daily routine.
...I'm sure these brilliant insights were made possible by the fact that I put my underwear on backwards today.

1.21.2006

be careful what you wish for

...today I was driving to work having my usual preparatory commute fit, thinking about how no one at the casino ever apologizes to me for anything. Which wouldn't be a big deal except that they're wrong, A LOT, and I'm right, OFTEN, and they (being the clientele) throw abuse at me EVERY DAY. Of course they also act horribly towards each other, but their disputes are usually settled quickly with a perfunctory, "I'm sorry," not because anyone actually is sorry, but because you never know whom you might have to ask for money later in the evening. (It's like that; everyone ends up being friends) But there's no advantage to be gained from apologizing to me; to do so would be to admit culpability, or responsibility for their actions. They feel it is part of my job to be screamed at, coughed on, cheated, threatened, condescendingly chastized, and generally put in my place, and it is.
...so I sit down at work and within the first five minutes of my shift, a guy reaches over me to place a bet and nails me right in the eye with his elbow. Hard. Like, a good mugger-disabling move. It didn't hurt a lot, but I was afraid he'd broken my glasses, and said something like "godDAMNit."
...He immediately apologized. Genuinely. It was a complete accident, he was this drunk Peruvian fellow, and he was very very nice about it. I didn't know him, but he's one of those kind of players who I actually like, a working-class recreational drinker/gambler who lives in the real world and can actually recognize when they've inconvenienced someone. That is, a non-sociopath.
...So I finally got apologized to at work, and all I had to to was get hit in the face. Be careful what you wish for.

1.16.2006

a wee lil poem

slow learner
heartfelt department
platonic lockpick
fruitless giftbasket
runaway scenario
oneshot mentality
lifespan shortening
dreams of
insanely plain
innately consonant
nicknamed confidante
fool sufferer
crisis sister
crush nexus
alcohol cadence
skin epiphany
smart remarks
come back and
then some

1.11.2006

this is my first meme

I was tagged by Kristen.

ONE (1) earliest film-related memory:

Watching "Star Wars" with my Aunt Ling in Fresno. Actually, not watching it, but coming back to the house after watching it and dancing all blissfully around the kitchen, singing the theme music, with lyrics that went something like "Star Wars, Star Wars Star Star Wars, Sta-a-a-arrrrr Wars, Star Wa-a-a-rrrrrs."

TWO (2) favorite lines from movies:

"Who wants some?" - Bruce Campbell in "Army of Darkness."

"Do you want me to dress like Thor? I'll dress like Thor." - Catherine Keener in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."

THREE (3) jobs you'd do if you could not work in the "biz":

Anything Consultant
Laundromat Supervisor
Video Store Clerk

FOUR (4) jobs you actually have held outside the industry:

toy ad copywriter
search engine query parser
comic book translation adapter
proposition player

THREE (3) book authors I like:

Donald Barthelme
Thomas Harris
Kurt Vonnegut

TWO (2) movies you'd like to remake or properties you'd like to adapt:

Daniel Pinkwater's "The Snarkout Boys & The Baconburg Horror"
Green Lantern, Iron Man, Batgirl and/or Spider-Man. Spider-Man really could be done better.

ONE (1) screenwriter you think is underrated:

Aren't all screenwriters underrated except for the ones who are truly horrible?
OK, Steve Martin. He's not exactly unsung, but the screenplays for "Roxanne" and "The Jerk" and "Bowfinger" all qualify as some pretty good shit.

I don't know anyone to tag.

1.07.2006

I realize that i'm sort of a "hater" but i try mainly to hate on the powers that be. My friend suggested that i could be a "hate consultant," or, as Tom Hanks phrased it in the movie "Punchline," a "hate stylist." I could advise people that instead of wasting their hate on the immigrant grocer or the undertrained barista or bad cell phone service, they could usefully direct that hate towards the corporation or government institution or rich bastard that is probably responsible for it all. 'Cause hate for me is very close to love, so it's not something to leave completely out of your life.

1.05.2006

suredik

...so somebody commented on my hypothetical X-Men 3 parody that I "sound like a dick."
...I know that it's too much to hope for, but I really hope it's Brett Ratner or someone who works for Brett Ratner. It would just give me so much schadenfreude to know that this rich and famous guy responsible for some of the crappiest movies of the last 10 years (although I admit I find some of his Mariah Carey videos strangely compelling) has nothing better to do but search blogs for people who talk shit about him, and respond to them anonymously.
....of course, it's probably just someone who thinks I am a dick, which in itself, would be nothing newsworthy. And here I am on my day off with nothing better to do than blog about it. Ah well. Hm. Sigh. Maybe I'll go eat some food.

1.03.2006

getting over it

Getting Over It is the right thing to do.
But the fact is if I Get Over It I got nothing.
Dead inside and overcompensating outwith.
Frustration comes from the suspicion that
all my married friends with kids and pets
know something that I haven't learned.
Do they? Can I take that class with a stranger?
I've Gotten Over lots of Its.
It's part of growing up.
But never mind if It is unattainable, delusional,
samsara or simply a stupid idea,
It's the thought that lets me look
forward to dreaming.
It goes away as time passes
like everything I used to know.

1.02.2006

06

New Year's Eve was so-so, but the night before New Year's eve was pretty fun. New Year's Day was also a blast. I went with a friend to Fogo de Chao, the Brazilian chain steakhouse that is possibly the most enjoyable somewhat-expensive eatery in the universe. Everything tastes fresh and wonderful and the service makes you feel like the most popular girl at the party. They have a great system involving a little button with red and green sides that sits on the table next to your plate. It looks like a coaster, but it is the most powerful coaster in all carnivorous cuisine. When you flip the button to the green side, waiters with glistening roasted meat on skewers descend on you from all sides and offer you wonderful cuts of beef, lamb and chicken that they cut with long knives. When you flip the button back to the default red side, they leave you alone to eat. It's a marvelous thing, keeps the food fresh and in reasonable proportion to your plate. It's a button that they should have everywhere, I think, never mind all bars and restaurants. It would make all interactions easier. You know how you're in a store and you can't get the salesmen to stop talking to you? If you had the red button up, they'd know to just sit back and let you browse until you flip to green. And it would completely revolutionize the social interactions at parties. There are plenty of times at parties when I'm by myself purposefully (red) and then there are times when I'm by myself awkwardly and wish someone would try to talk to me (green). Of course the system would break down there because all the serial killers, rice queens and career scuzzbags would start looking for the poor lonely wallflowers with their green buttons and mob them instantly. But if they came bearing hot garlic-encrusted slices of steak, I guess it would still be OK.