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.