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....