10.29.2012

17 Moments From The SF Giants' Postseason That Define My Incomplete Version Of Happiness

1) NLDS Game 5. SF 6, Reds 4. Buster Posey hits a grand slam. The San Francisco Saloon on Pico goes nuts. The Giants come back from almost definitely losing. Something weird is happening.

2) NLCS Game 4. St. Louis 8, SF 3. Very depressed. We are definitely going to lose to the Cardinals, again. I righteously hate the Cardinals. The first time I ever saw the Giants get to the playoffs (I started following baseball during a season where they lost 100 games), they lost to the Cardinals. I was a kid and I could not figure out why it was impossible for Jeffrey Leonard to hit a 6-run home run with no one on base.

3) NLCS Game 5. SF 5, St. Louis 0. Brandon Crawford looks a bit like Patrick Swayze in Steel Dawn. Or Red Dawn. Or a ranger in Lord of the Rings. You know, a real hero.

Barry Zito has always looked like a smug pretty boy with $100 million bucks. But sometimes that's the guy who buys you a drink and puts an arm around your shoulder because it's within his power to do so and he's comfortable with that.

4) Zito's RBI bunt single. It's the most important rule of comedy.

5) Watching NLCS Games 6 and 7 back in Berkeley town with my mom, dad, and sister, and some deer that wander through the backyard now and then. Mom and sis think it's important to watch the games with a lot of steak, BBQ brisket, and apple crisp on hand. They are right, this is very important.

6) NLCS Game 6. SF 6, St. Louis 1. Scutaro is the new Ichiro. Hits everything, not a ton of power; just a lot of hard looping singles and doubles to every possible field. If Strawberry Fields Forever were in fair territory, he'd hit a sinking line drive into it.

7) NLCS Game 7. SF 9, St. Louis 0. Although Scutaro gets a hit basically every time he bats, Hunter Pence decided to invent a new kind of double which involves hitting the ball with the bat 3 times in one swing. Pence developed this unfathomable technique using radioactive hypersenses which also aid his side career as the costumed crimefighter Daredevil.





8) The rain falling at the end of Game 7. Scutaro dances in it like the kid in Cinema Paradiso.

9) World Series, Game 1. SF 8, Detroit 3. Barry Zito vs. Justin Verlander. Zito beats the shit out of him. That is just crazy. That is like Call Me Maybe level of crazy.

10) Barry Zito's RBI single vs. Justin Verlander. Barry Zito, offensive juggernaut. That is like Britney Spears/Beyonce level of crazy.

11) Panda hits 3 home runs in 1 game, and decides that Verlander is not that good. Not as good as Barry Zito, anyway. What? That is like a Gnarls Barkley wrapped in a Patsy Cline inside a Fine Young Cannibal.


12) TIMMY ANNIHILATES THE TIGERS IN RELIEF. Timmy Lincecum, our funny-looking ace. Our sleight-of-build, messy-haired, kinda frail-looking Lethal Assassinating Strikeout Machine.


13) World Series, Game 2.  SF 2, Detroit 0.
My name is Prince / And I'm a fatty / I'm running home / So you can tag me
Or, Buster Posey Missed A Second Career As A Ballet Dancer.
Or, A Matador.

14) World Series, Game 3. SF 2, Detroit 0. At the SF Saloon, we rise in the 7th inning and sing "God Bless America" together. I don't think I have sung "God Bless America" out loud before, ever. It's a nice song.

15) Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Affeldt, Lincecum and Romo combine to strike out supposedly-good Tiger stars Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder about 117 times in only 32 at-bats. The entire American League is revealed to be comprised of overhyped designated-hitting doucheheads.

16) That Saturday night it becomes clear that after losing early and often in two playoff series, we are going to win the World Series. Winning is of course the extremist religion of America. We worship winning and hate anything non-winning. We love it when you beat the weak and exploit disadvantages to come out on top. We care nothing for effort. In Los Angeles, when we win sporting events, we celebrate by overturning cars and setting them on fire. So it's crucial I think to be aware of this complex narcotic problem-thing called winning. In those rare, impossible times when it's going to happen. Let's try to do it in a classy way.

17) World Series, Game 4. SF 4, Detroit 3. The only really exciting close game since, wow. The Tigers actually have the lead for a few innings. Then Buster Posey realizes it is time to hit a two-run home run.

Then former starting second baseman Ryan Theriot realizes it is time to make use of this keen DH rule and hit a single. Then current starting second baseman Scutaro realizes it is time to get another RBI hit so that they can win the game. Then Affeldt and Romo realize it is time to strike out every freaking Triple Crown winner or cleanup hitter that tries to wave a stupid bat in their faces. 

Then I realize that we have won the World Series, as champagne cascades onto my head from I don't know where, a roar goes up on both sides of the street, people are running shirtless across Pico and everyone in my immediate vicinity is orange and happy.

Then I realize, Buster Posey now probably thinks he will win the World Series every year that he is not cripplingly injured.

Then it's over. It's only baseball. We have to go back to important things like defining our abs and finding our slutty hurricane costume for Halloween, and deciding which taco to eat and which street to take to work, and where is our voting place and which disinterested girl should we chase, and staring at the ceiling and money and toilet bowl cleaner, and being heartbroken and being alive and being champions of the whole beautiful world.


10.12.2012

I Am So Going to Beat the Shit Out of This Weekend.

You heard me. That's what's up. Yeah, it's a pretty big weekend. So what? It's got knees and eyes like everybody else. Here are the 27 ways in which I'm going to beat the shit out of this weekend.

1)  I'm gonna watch the recap of Game 5 of the Giants vs. Reds about 100 times in the solitary comfort of my cute Hollywood apartment. I'm going to loopily enjoy the beauty of Posey's grand slam, Pagan's catch, Crawford's dive, Panda's Pandaness, Cain's cool.

2)  I'm going to get a fat load of Twitter followers for @Phearchannel and @Thorhulkcritic and a bunch of Youtube subscribers for Paranormalstatus.com. Because every weekend starts with #Follow #Fucking #Friday, baby! HELL YEAH. POUR IT.

3)  Gonna write up a proposal and treatment for a new rock musical, because that's one of the things in life I kick bloody ass at. No I'm not gonna write no flipping script. Who reads, or follows, or understands, or gets hard from flipping scripts? TREATMENT, MAN.

4)  Gonna edit a cute cat video. And post that shit. That's right.

5)  I am gonna hound LA Weekly until they correct the spelling of chashu in their supposedly-hip ramen capsule review. It's not char siu, dude. Char siu is Chinese and not in ramen and also not pronounceable in Japanese. If you're gonna have the gig of reviewing the best Asian cuisine in America and feel compelled to hiply print words in the language, try to get it right. It's only the languages of about 2 billion people or so.

6)  I am so going to totally forget about every woman I have ever strongly liked. At least, I am going to forget that I like them. Because clearly that shit gets you nowhere, buddy.

7)  I will overcome every socio-racial disadvantage I have ever whined about by temporarily turning into a white dude. Gals will feel that they are supposed to throw the sex on me because of every movie and TV show they have ever seen, despite the fact that I am of only medium height. I don't give a pho.

8)  I will exploit a new area of socio-racial advantage by turning into an Asian woman and getting a great writing job, beating out many other qualified applicants on a questionable unspoken basis, which is that everybody likes Asian women. Yeah, I said it. Sue me.

9)  I will hook up with a very intelligent funny girl with three boobs. When I say I just want to cuddle, she goes, "Damn! That's awesome! That's not biologically repulsive at all!"

10)  Fuckin' gonna buy a blanket and some envelopes, too. And maybe some socks. And gonna pull a box of crap out of my car and organize that crap. You darn tooting. That's how we do.

11)  Why? Because I Want It That Way. BOOM.

12)  Somehow amongst all this business I'm gonna fit in a fucking epic nap.

13)  I am hell of going to that Peruvian restaurant to have a big fat plate of lomo saltado and see if they got a causa rellena. 
14)  Gonna see the shit out of Looper, because that guy is the best director working. He is so awesome he had a cute Asian girl sidekick in his second film and it was not extremely creepy and stupid.  Amended because I did see Looper, which was a fine film except for the part which had every Asian female film stereotype ever documented. Hey white boys! Keep fucking up! The love of a mute Chinese woman will save you! And then she will die and you will have a reason to live/murder children. (I'm not making that up to be tacky, that is the plot of the movie,)

15)  I'm gonna have a few cocktails with vodka in 'em. Maybe a fruit-flavored vodka. What? You wanna tussle?

16)  Will memorize all the words to "Geto Superstar," just because it is mentally possible to do so.

17)  I'm going to find Mitt Romney and personally beat the shit out of him. Because he is not now and is never going to be president, so making that kind of threat idly is always going to be legally permissible.

18)  I'm gonna watch some football while doing a hard workout, just to ensure that I can still be effortlessly crushed by any of those guys.

19)  I'm gonna stare at my goddamn phone like a boss. 

20)  I am going to write a poem or a song about you.

21)  I am hell of not gonna get married, or have a baby, or post pictures of my food. Because I like to believe I still stand for something.

22)  I am gonna find out what is up with my Internet connection and beat the shit out of it.

23)  Everyone is going to be so impressed by all the shit-beating-out-of which I will ostensibly accomplish this weekend, they are all gonna subscribe to paranormalstatus.com and also start a kickstarter campaign with the singular goal of raising $2.6 million dollars to dump straight on to my big head. Then I will be exposed to a radioactive cloud and gain fucking superpowers.

24)  I'm gonna enjoy the crap out of some rain.

25)  I'm going to make a page for a fictional character on Facebook and then BEFRIEND IT. Yeah!

26)  I'mma hit up a sexy birthday party in Little Tokyo. Because I live in Los Angeles, bitch. I don't have to go to Big Tokyo. I live in a heroic struggling fantasy of myself and I can go to Little Frakking Anywhere.

27)   I am gonna root like hell for the Orioles.  Mainly because I like The Wire.

9.26.2012

Viewers' Guide to PARANORMAL STATUS (or, How To Meaningfully Interact With Those YouTube Channels All the Kids Are Tweeting About)

So, honestly, this is what I'm hoping you will do. It will take between 2 and 35 minutes depending on whether you actually watch the vids or not.

Any clever viral/interactive/audience-engagement marketing I might scheme up is a coded attempt to get you to do Exactly This.

For the indie artist/videomaker/content creator, this is the platonic ideal for how a viewer interacts with their videos on youtube. If you are curious about how you can support artist/creators that you like, for free, in no time at all, take this as a case study, a walkthrough.

1.  Start here. Find and click the SUBSCRIBE button that is in the upper left corner of every Youtube video (or sort of near the title on the channel pages). If you don't have a youtube account yet you will be prompted to create one, it is totally free and non-intrusive and will take 30 seconds.***

2.  Click the LIKE button. Copy the link, any link. Share it, embed it, tweet about it. Seriously, you don't even gotta watch it. I mean, we worked hard on it, the episode is there to be enjoyed, but don't let some convoluted sense of "I must watch the entire video before validating it with viral shares and mentions" hold you up from just pimping that link everywhere. Write it on the wall of your office building's bathroom. Email it to HuffPost. Text it to your cat. Paranormalstatus.com.



The episode is arranged with a certain narrative delicacy (if I do say so m'self), but if you just wanna know what happens, I can happily spoil it for you. The high points of this episode are Dave getting drunk and singing a variant of "God Save the Queen" and a colorful dream sequence with a terrifying/satirical cliffhanger.

Go to episode 2 to catch up on some plot points. There is an amusing Sadako gag and a tender death scene that will come up again later in the arc of the series.


3.  Like-button everything. Comment on something. If you don't like something about this whole endeavor, comment on that. Create traffic. (The goal of every web-based thing is to create traffic and go viral, that is, the exact opposites of your goals in real life, haha.)**

Detour to click/view the gag reel, the gratuitous wrestling video (there's only a touch of actual wrestling in it, but a lot of charmingly posh British giggling), or this somewhat clever meta-trailer on my personal channel. Subscribe to channel dommah! too, while you're here.

Click on Episode 1, it's the pilot, so it has the most expositional lag, yes, some questionable cinematography, yes, yet you will still find moments to enjoy the buffoonish heroism of Dave and the sardonic radiance of Zoe and Elle. And again, plot points that will come up again later. And if you comment identifying the characters and context of the Dark Knight Returns reference in this episode, you win a 2012 ComicCon bag full of goodies. It's a rolling easter-egg contest that as yet no one has been nerdy enough to win. :)

4.  And by gum, you can even click on an ad, because in theory that turns into $$$, of which some trickles down to the artist (me & the POO crew). You are obligated to buy nothing, yet your friend/video-creator/artist gets rewarded. Kind of an awesome deal, right?

Like this playlist, where I will maintain a curated "best of" all Paranormal Status videos, maximized for entertainment like a circus routine. This is after all, at base, not about money or fancy filmmaking (or consistent camerawork, to be sure). It's about trying to make you laugh.

And then there's our facebook page, and supposedly it is good when people like that.**

5.  If somehow you have read this far, you may as well also follow @dommah @thorhulkcritic and @phearchannel on twitter, and enjoy my 140-character bursts of smile-causing sarcastic musings.

And really, that's it. Thank you!

***This is really important because YouTube success or failure (I mean, nothing really fails on YouTube, but some things are more successful than others) is judged in hard numbers of subscriptions and viewcounts. So if you just wanna click on the thing continuously while it's in the background of your monitor while you're doing other important things...that would be awesome.

**It's cool if you like the things on Facebook, but keep in mind this key difference: FB just tracks and uses your input as part of their Freaking Massive Marketing Data Collecting Machine, whereas, YouTube looks at that data and actually passes on some of its profits to its content creators. Not in a way that it's like they're giving away money, exactly, but on principle, Youtube rewards the people who, you know, make the shit that is on Youtube. No artist ever gets paid off people liking them on Facebook. (SUM-UP POINT: do the FB thing anyway, but the best thing to do on FB is share, share, share.)

9.01.2012

Affirmative Action, Asian Dating, and Vomit. (OR, Why Being an Asian American Guy Still F**king Sucks.)

I was going to write this piece anyway, but now it is partially in response to this idiot.

The social highlight of my last week was when a pretty girl vomited on me in a karaoke room. Without going into the whole story, I was trying to get friendly with her without realizing exactly how many drinks she'd had, and then she got sad, and I'm like OK maybe you just need someone to hold you, and that was fine, and then her warm and wet weeping on my shoulder suddenly became warm and wet regurgitated shrimp all over my clothes. I am not exaggerating at all when I say it was the social highlight of the week. Also, it was the kind of thing that makes you look at all the couplings and relationships and sexual congress going on in the world and question, "how does that ever even happen?"

Being Asian-American and male is definitely the worst thing you can possibly be, ethnically, in the dating universe. People say, "It's all in your head." Asian-American males themselves say to "GET OVER IT," and do, by obnoxious overcompensation. But let's get back to my head. It is not all in my head. Would you tell a black man that police brutality is all in his head? Police brutality is, of course, much more terrible than not having a date. But the phenomena are equally true. The statement that a black guy is more likely to be in trouble from the police because of institutional racism is AS TRUE as the statement that an Asian-American guy is more likely to have no warm body to wake up to in the morning because of institutional racism.

Also, it's data in the frakking census. As a percentage of their populations, the least-married kinds of people in America are Asian-American guys and African-American women. I think it's safe to say that there is a whole network of institutional racisms contributing to the plight of that second group. With Asian-American guys, it's only one umbrella-able problem, which is not Asian-specific, but in any case it's that Women Like Trouble.
Me and my nongirlfriendfriend A., rocking the
Girl's Got Priorities Goggles.

Asian-American gals have plenty of good psychological reasons for preferring not to get with Asian-American guys, having to do with patriarchy in Asian nations ("I thought I just got away from that..."), sense of self, their brothers, their fathers, and also that America is still run by white people (give or take our embattled president). By the way, none of these good reasons are articulated well or truthfully by this girl (who, again, is either a moron or some sort of troll for the website, or both). ALL gals like an Asian guy if he's Totally Fuckin HOT, of course, but on average will hook up with the indifferent loud white dude over a normal Asian guy who is totally devoted to them.  Or the sensitive hipster who is not patriarchal and had the most amazing experience in Thailand, you should go on a retreat there (because that's what self-aware people do, go on retreats to find themselves in other countries...WTF).

There was a point here...OH, it's that I have no luck with chicks. NO, it's actually that women, like most humans, have a streak in them that craves danger, and will do things for "fun" that are totally against their long-term self-interest. Asian-American dudes, generally speaking, do not convey the sense of Trouble that women like. As the PUAs will tell you, there are good strong biological reasons for this trouble-seeking (the system works better, if ruthlessly, in the lion community), which invariably causes women to get with guys who are angry, abusive, and wrapped up in destructive self-obsessions of their own. Hence the endless cycle of "OMG I just want to find a nice man OMG who is this loser I've shacked up with."

If you haven't observed this in the real world, it is because you live on Vulcan.

The thing is, most guys feel entitled to sex. Women often confuse this sense of entitlement with confidence and are attracted to it, although entitlement has nothing to do with confidence (but it has everything to do with behaving like a douchebag). People of color are generally attuned to the reality that one is not entitled to things, and SOME (Some not all!**) Asian American dudes, being where they izzat on the spectrum, realize that one is not entitled to love; it happens if you are terribly lucky, but there is no natural law that says you can't die alone.

(Level of American-ness is important here: Asian Asian dudes from Asia have as big a sense of entitlement as any guy anywhere; they are all Alpha over there.)

Asian American guys overcompensate for their perceived disadvantage by acting Bro-ish: angry, loud, swaggery, selfish, fighting for position. OK, some of them are like this naturally. The ones who are just putting on a performance of that, ladies, that is all your fault. If you responded to the other thing, we would act the other way. 

....So anyway, that's basically what I said to the girl last Thursday night.

She responded with something like "Asian blahblahglah BROTHER blahblahgah."

And then she started crying on my shoulder.

And then she threw up on me.

Good times.

....This ended up having not much to do with this affirmative action case, except to say: people who oppose affirmative action like to point out that if it were not for affirmative action, the percentage of black students would drop dramatically (at the few schools that currently have affirmative action) to reflect the "true" makeup of qualified students. And to that I say: How could that possibly be a good thing? Don't we have affirmative action in the first place to slightly make up for THAT OTHER FLAWED SYSTEM WHICH HELPED SOME PEOPLE BUT HAD A FEW KINKS IN IT UH SLAVERY? But by all means, if the plan for a better America is to clamp down on those unfairly college-bound black people, do it, level that playing field. I will go to another county and find myself. 

**Some not all! Some not all! Not racist not racist not racist!

8.20.2012

20 Thoughts While Watching a Chinese Bootleg of The Avengers 37 Times Over the Weekend


1. The imperfections in Whedon's writing make his work even more wonderful in this soulless focus-grouped time. Some jokes are contrived, the Galaga reference is super-dated, and no one, even evil aliens, should use the actual phrase, "cowering wretches." But the glitches, to be sure, are human mistakes, not marketing miscalculations, and through them you can see the mind at work, a mind tasked with this inconceivable action/comedy/sci-fi/fantasy/origin/ensemble/mass appeal/fanboy problem of a story. And he clearly wants it to work.

2. Yeah, I'm watching a Chinese bootleg. So what, Marvel? I bought about 300 Avengers-related comics with cash money, back in the day when you were almost bankrupt, before you were a money-making juggernaut. I read those paper comics until they were falling apart at the binding, all so I could grow up to be a resource of Thanos information for my other friends who have real lives with girls and babies. I bought a single issue of A vs. X at ComicCon, just so I could feel one in my hand. So really, you can spot me the cost of one DVD.

3. Avengers could conceivably surpass Star Wars as the greatest nerd myth. And by myth I don't mean "something that Kari Byron busts." Star Wars reached a generation through a no-duh formula of heroic myth and archetypal characters within an exciting robust universe. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter sort of have this, but are too stuck in sword and sorcery tropes to grab us with that freeing leap of imagination. The Avengers bring the Game of Throniness via Thor, but they also bring the sexy technology, modern-world intrigue, and most importantly, characters with rich, tactile histories, embedded in them by crafty writers over generations. (Harry Potter, expansive and voluminous though he is, was basically invented last Tuesday after a quick read through the Dungeons and Dragons Beginner's Manual. True fact.)

4. The relationship between Iron Man and Hulk is really cute. Savvy tweaking of the "Rich sexy guy coaches the loser egghead" bromance motif.

5. Scarlett Johansson does a very good job. She is with Maggie Q and Sigourney Weaver on a very short list of women actors who make you believe they're going into a fight with something at stake. (As opposed to say, Jennifer Garner, who aims a gun like she's deciding which latte to order.) Also nice is how Black Widow fights in a thigh-intensive style both Spider-y and Emma Peel-y. I can't say if she is speaking Russian well, but with that throaty voice she could sound good speaking Ewok. Leering aside, compare, for example, her part in that idiotic Island movie or even in Iron Man 2 with her tactically saucy work here; it's the difference between sexy and sexualized.

6. If the story is going to go on, they are gonna need a lot more out of Captain America. Cap is often kind of a dud on his own, and has always shined best as a guest star (since he is, at his most poignant, a kind of guest star in his own country). Hopefully before the next movie comes out, someone involved will read Daredevil #233, in which Cap shows up and is sullen and conflicted in an appealing Ryan Gosling-ish kind of way.

7. The Hulk is used to better effect here than in any Hulk iteration in Hulk history, a testament to Whedon's cleverness. Ruffalo's strained voice is a poem for every quiet man with a monster inside.

8. Thor...has always sucked, and within that limitation, Chris Hemsworth distinguishes himself just by maintaining the accent and gruffing out a few charming grunts and bellows. I mean, you do believe he is Thor, whatever Thor is.

9.  I like how Hawkeye spends a lot of time recovering his arrows, as if to mollify the funless people who will rightly point out that he shoots three thousand arrows out of his slim little Sharper Image quiver.

10. Iron Man is played by Downey Jr. with marvelous, uh, consistency. He's the Han Solo that could make the Supassing-Star-Wars thesis work. "Hey...it's me."

11. Whedon's sole weakness in his nerd storytelling skills is a penchant for generic mushy-faced alien/demons/villains that are underdesigned and no one cares about too much. We saw it in Buffy and in Astonishing X-Men (come on, we really needed to go to that whole planet with the skill-saw-fist guys?) It's fine here, since, as per Thanos, a lot of Avengers villains actually look like that.

12. That one big shot of zooming around the city, lingering on all the different Avengers fighting, is the greatest shot of the CGI-Replaces-Everything era. It's about as good as the Millennium Falcon flying through that swarm of TIE fighters in Return of the Jedi, which was the craziest shot of that SFX era.

13. Everyone, with the possible exception of Captain America (who, to be sure, is a medium actor in an unexciting role) gives a generous performance. Generous to us nerds. (Well, okay, Cap does make nerd boner with that "Got a suit?" line, but apart from that he's usually on the verge of exposing the invisible wires.) Downey Jr., Renner, and Johansson are all pretty big Hollywood people and have every reason to just put on the costume and phone it in, yet they all seem convincingly invested in, uh, saving the city from aliens. (If you need a template for "phoned in," meaning "functional but lifeless," see the performance of every actor in every X-Men film except for Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Ellen Page) A few false notes come from Samuel L. Jackson, who is probably just tired from being in a thousand movies.

14. They should have used the ubiquitous blue metal mesh from Spiderman and Superman's new outfits on Captain America, who actually wears chainmail in the comics, yet his movie outfit looks like it's made of felt or something. Weird.

15. It's classy, the festishy lingering in extreme close-up over the gear of the Avengers in the end credits. Someone definitely put a lot of work into making those practical props, and to both them and us gadget-heads, it's all important, the stitching on Cap's shield straps, the gears inside Hawkeye's arrowhead-dispenser, the shape of the cylinders on Black Widow's bracelets.

16. Whedon's appreciation for every movie that nerds like (from Star Trek to LOTR) maintains the movie at the perfect temperature of a little silly, but not stupefyingly stupid. That's all we want, Michael Bay, Brett Ratner, Zack Snyder. A movie that does not make us stupider.

17. On the other hand, as evident from small moments like Black Widow's innate terror at the threat of the Hulk emerging, or Iron Man's basic inability to shut up, Whedon is still clearly a WRITER, that is, is a guy who watches how people act in the real world. As opposed to a hack sheltered Ivy Leaguer who paraphrases other things that have made money. (This one thing is so important to the health of the art form that I will surely weep.)

18. Fanservicey references that I like: Star Wars, in the sound design for the Speeder Bike chase scene. For gamers: Ultimate Alliance fusion attack combo move with Cap and Iron Man. Bruce Banner wandering solo around in the countryside like the guy in the Hulk TV show used to do.

19. "Watchmen" could have been as satisfying as the Avengers if that Zack Snyder guy (who is now directing the ultimate unrelate-able stiff, Superman) knew one thing about human interaction (to be fair, he does know exactly one thing about the human eye's interaction with boobs and muscles). Marvel has done really well employing directors like Favreau and Branagh, who are actorly and interested in the human component of the craft. DC has been fucking up by using film-school types who are mainly interested in atmosphere (Snyder) and pretentious ideas (Nolan). Yeah, the Batman movies were good but they were like the movies we need, not the movies we deserve when we live to die to become the hero to our own legend of our fall from darkness and yadda yadda bridge explodes.

20. Larry Hama, a great comics writer, said at this year's ComicCon (re: G.I. Joe), "the fantasy is that Snake Eyes will come and get you." He was talking about camaraderie, which is the essential comic-book fantasy. It's not really about having unnatural power, which is just an extrapolation of every introvert's unexpressed id problem (dig deep into a nerd and you find that he does, in fact, already believe he has mutant powers, usually that of superior intelligence). The truly seductive fantasy is that you, an ordinary person, matter enough that someone with unnatural power will arrive and intervene in your time of disaster. (They have also built a few religions on this premise, I gather.) This is why we read superhero comics; to imagine that timely teammate, our ideal self projected, a friend who can fly to whereever you are.

8.14.2012

A little political rant for apolitical people, and why Social Security is awesome.


From my Bicycle Casino days to currently living in the Sawtelle neighborhood of West Los Angeles, I've been lucky enough to live among a population of recent immigrants and expatriates who are pretty disaffected from the American political process. I say "lucky" because it takes an outsider's perspective to see how hyper-jaded and ridiculous we suburban American-born Americans (yes, amazed guy at the bar whose mother was born in Germany, I am mathematically more American than you by generations of family residence) are about politics.

It's totally understandable why some people don't vote. Both parties are corrupt and voting is rigged. Only a Democrat or Republican will ever get to be President. But it's irksome to think that some people don't vote because they think the two parties are so in cahoots that it makes no difference whether Obama or Romney gets to be President. It makes a big difference. 

I have a very simple/stupid understanding of how U.S politics works. Traditionally, Democrats believe in big government and Republicans like small government. Democrats believe in taxes that pay for the government's ability to do things. Republicans prefer less taxes so that the people will have more money/freedom to sort themselves out without government involvement. 

These are both good, arguable ideas. It's just that recently the Republicans have gone totally nuts, and instead of campaigning on any political ideas, they roll out with, well, this instead:

a) We have no ideas. 
b) We are boring the shit out of people with our total lack of ideas for improving life in the U.S.A.**
c) We keep saying "Tax cuts" because it sounds like an idea, but is actually just one of 10 not-thought-out things written on a little notecard along with "God" and "Probably not into gay marriage."
d) Instead of ideas, we will get the bored people's attention by spewing hate and being weird.

George Bush, the last Republican president, exemplified this non-platform. He pretty much destroyed the country, except for all the rich people.

OK, Obama is not the greatest ever (I happen to think he's pretty great) but the single most compelling reason I can think of to vote, to participate in American democracy. is that Obama is WAY better than the last guy, and the current guy, and any other guy the Republicans are currently peddling. 

It doesn't matter if Obama is in fact only average. Because Mitt Romney would be awful. Sitting through a flawed movie is better than getting punched repeatedly in the face. Especially if both things are going to take four years.

Here's an argument for the left/Democrat way of looking at things, today, on the 77th anniversary of the Social Security Act.

It used to be in America that the biggest percentage of poor people were the elderly. Then, in the Great Depression, they came up with Social Security, and fixed that problem. Now we can't even remember, or even picture, a large number of poor elderly people in America. Because there was a problem, and the government created a program that fixed it. In fact, vanished it almost completely. Yeah, that really happens!

In the late 90's, America had a surplus, and jobs were falling off of trees. I know 'cause I had like three jobs, and I majored in the humanities. Unfortunately, it's hard to remember this prosperity now. Why? Because somehow George Bush got into office, CUT TAXES FOR RICH PEOPLE, and the country is now in deficit, decline, deep shit.

So whenever someone cynically suggests that it makes no difference which way you vote, I think of George Bush destroying the country except for rich people; and when they say our problems are too massive to be fixed, I like to remind people about Social Security.

**At the risk of harping on well-covered territory, but in the interests of NOT FORGETTING, here are the other things that Bush and the last Republican leadership did that are extremely worse than anything Democratic leadership could or would do, but very like the things Mitt would probably do. 
- Went to war in Iraq for no big reason, killing many people, helping oil company profits a lot.
- Didn't particularly care when a hurricane almost destroyed New Orleans.
- Told the kids that America should be an "ownership society," like how the Southern states in the 1850s was a totally awesome ownership society.
- Helped big banks turn America into a home de-ownership society.
- Unless of course you were already rich and got one of those aforementioned tax cuts/bailouts, leaving you with tons of extra money to buy a 3rd house on the cheap from some guy who can't afford it anymore.
- However, they did at least sort out definitively that two people of the same sex attempting to get married is a hugely important issue that affects everyone. 

8.13.2012

What If People Died, a short comedy about love and death.

Here's a short film I made which is completely not a short film, it's actually kind of a longish video, but in the biz there's nothing to call it except "short film." If it was a book it'd be a novella. Originally conceived as a feature, but hella things happened along the way, and this is the version I'm rolling out with. It's the more-or-less final version, give or take some color correction and titles, at a youtube-friendly medium resolution.

It's about a buncha hipsters who die suddenly and then come back to life after three days like it was no big deal. Please enjoy....

WHAT IF PEOPLE DIED, PART 1


WHAT IF PEOPLE DIED, PART 2
What If People Died (Part 2) from dominic mah on Vimeo.

8.03.2012

Viewers' Guide to "Zoe & Elle Take the Piss Out of American Ghost Hunters"



Here are a few things that may help you enjoy this video if you are not a native UK English speaker or paranormal-show nerd:

1)  TOWIE = "The Only Way Is Essex" = some sort of British reality show.
2)  "Ghost Adventures" is a popular American ghost-hunting show featuring male paragon Zak Bagans. It is fun to drink to.
3)  "Paranormal Status" is a web show featuring British female ghosthunting heroes portrayed by Chloe Zak and Becky Zak Bagans. Er, that is, Becky Zak.
4)  Sporty probably would be considered the most chavvy of the Spice Girls, and Posh would certainly disapprove.
5)  That thing he says at the end is, seriously, "DON'T TAUNT VOODOO."

7.25.2012

Subscribe to POO!



Paranormal Status episode 2 is live now! I really like this one.

Please subscribe, share, like, comment. Why do I harp on subscribing? Because I am a 15-year-old girl in 2008? Well, apart from that, 5 simple reasons:

1. It takes no time at all. In the time it took you to read this, you could have subscribed and un-subscribed already. It's no commitment to anything.
2. It helps. It tremendously helps me and the other folks involved in the show.
3. It doesn't affect your life at all. Maybe YouTube will send you an email now and then that you can easily turn off.
4. It's the only way I will be able to continue doing this shit. A lot of people I meet find out that I'm an indie videomaker and say, "It's cool that you do that." If you actually have that thought in your body, you should subscribe. If you would like me to discontinue from making any art/comedy/films/videos for the rest of my life, not subscribing is the way to cast your vote there.
5. It takes no time at all. It's one click on that little subscribe button at the top of every YouTube page. If you don't have a Youtube acct you then have to sign up for one. Again, if you are reading this, you could have done and un-done it already. It's that inconsequential to you, and yet it makes a great difference for me and the team because it becomes numbers which youtoob takes very seriously, and helps the indie video artists who make that webshow or cat video you like so much continue to do their thing.

7.12.2012

The Justice League Movie, if it were exactly like The Avengers Movie.

In honor of ComicCon 2012, here is an abridged screenplay for the Justice League movie, modeled entirely after The Avengers movie, because that seemed to work very well.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
a superhero team screenplay 
by dommah

EXT. DC UNIVERSE
Near Martian rocks, some MARTIANS plot. 


MARTIAN LEADER
We're going to attack Earth.

MARTIAN SOLDIER
Why?

MARTIAN LEADER
Ah, the H'ell of it. Give them something to do.

INT. BATCAVE
AMANDA WALLER recruits BATMAN.


AMANDA WALLER
Come join the team.

BATMAN
I'm sulky and complicated...my father....

AMANDA WALLER
Bitch, can you just get in the jet? I've got like six of these today.

7.11.2012

Paranormal Status Episode 1: The DAU of POO




I really have other things to blog about, but this is what I've been working on lately. 


If you can spot the Dark Knight reference and name the situation and the characters involved, you win a t-shirt. Not promising what kind of t-shirt.


Off to Comic-Con now. 


Hey, subscribe so we can make more episodes. It involves clicking one button that affects your life not at all but helps us a tonne.

7.03.2012

Paranormal Status Vs. The Trailer Sound



I think the Trailer Sound started with the trailers for the Transformers post-films, another innovation given us by that noble post-narrative franchise. Since then, hell of summer movies have used the electronic-drone-queefing sound to punctuate their trailers full of otherwise-unexciting shots of buildings, people looking scared, etc. For reference:





By the way, please subscribe to Paranormal Status! You can make that little "SUBSCRIBE" button at the top of the Youtube page go from dark gray to light gray and never bother you again.

Episode 1 will come out on or around July 9. It should be pretty good.

6.18.2012

PARANORMAL STATUS PREVIEW TEASER TRAILER THING

Subscribe to fear. And fun.

Honestly, if you don't happen to know, your subscription means a heart-shaped ton to indie youtubers. Increased youtube stats, especially subscribers, give them a much improved chance of being able to continue making content. Also, it really costs you nothing and takes maybe thirty seconds. So if you really really like some video but don't subscribe, it is sort of like saying to the videomaker, "I don't want you to make anything ever again because you are too busy holding down a nowhere-leading office job in this economy. I LIKE THIS, BUT NEVER MAKE ANYTHING EVER AGAIN."

Just trying to put the thing in perspective. So anyway, here's the trailer for my new web series.

5.14.2012

A poem about impulse control

You showed up in a dream I had, but with reddish hair
or maybe the dream was just red, it's hard to know.  There also
was a drunk girl who'd misplaced her drink and was talking
like if she stopped making sounds, she'd die.

To gain a little distance from her
I went outside to look for her forgotten Manhattan,
in case it was somewhere on the street.

You said, "Are you coming back?"
And I said, "It doesn't really matter if I come back or not
because if I leave and see even a cloud or a photo of a taco
or a cloud in the form of a photo of a taco
I will think about you asking that,
in the engine's hum and the quiet waking moments,
on the one moon earth has, everywhere.
It takes so long to realize what is missing,
and then it is like being haunted. It is like
recently learning to read."

And you sort of laughed at this. And I knew then
where I'd be tomorrow, and said:

"So even if I don't come back, I believe
I'll have the same experience
as if I never left
to look for this lost Manhattan."



5.03.2012

The Avengers: A Brief Film Guide For Non-Nerds, Hipster Cineastes, and (Generally Speaking) Women (AMENDED)


A) I wrote a guide to the Avengers film for the You Offend Me You Offend My Family blog, aimed at viewers unfamiliar with the Avengers. In it, I forgot to mention one very important point of potential confusion.

THESE AVENGERS ARE NOT THE BRITISH AVENGERS FROM THE 60's TV SHOW, AND BLACK WIDOW IS NOT EMMA PEEL.
Uma Thurman as an Avenger and Scarlett Johansson as an Avenger. 

Although one could easily see how they'd get confused.

BRead the rest of the guide here.

C) In theory my guide is a little less sexist than the similar "Girls' Guide" that Moviefone has here. (Also, it's more accurate.) Of course, many girls are Avengers fans. No informed person would claim otherwise. It's just safe to say that it's not most of them.

Diana Rigg as the original Emma Peel from the British spy show, '"The Avengers."
Like Black Widow, she was good at disabling foes with her pincer-like thighs.

5.01.2012

WIPD

Here's the trailer for a short film I wrote and directed, "What If People Died." It's a romantic satire based on the mildly ludicrous idea that death itself could become a trending topic. Say that a supernatural force caused you to spontaneously die in the middle of texting or latte-drinking or whathaveyou...and then you mysteriously come back to life, three days later, perfectly restored. In it, a group of LA hipster folk faces this exact problem, which forces them to rethink the big questions of love, purpose, and mortality. It's an ensemble piece told in interconnected vignettes; sort of a "Death Actually," if you will.



(At 29 minutes running time, WIPD could also be construed as a pilot for an episodic comedy.).

4.27.2012

Why Actors Are Better (and Better-Off) Than Writers.

Writing is, in case you aren't familiar with it, god-like fun. Whether you are J. K. Rowling or the senior scribe at OctopusXXXFanfic.net, there's a reason people write fiction and screenplays and lyrics and such, and it is not (unless you are the truest form of hack) about money or making the world a better place. The joy of writing I believe comes, ignobly, from two things:

"And THEN he says.... OH YES GOD I'M A GENIUS."
1) You get to put words in other people's mouths.


2) You get to control what happens. 

Okay, maybe that's actually one thing. But the theory goes: the Real World is out of sorts with its potential for beauty, and you, the writer, get to correct it, by making the train leave at the right time, the hero say the best three words in the language, the aliens arrive with the appropriate lights and flourish. Somehow the omnipotent powers to make this happen have been bestowed on anyone who has the ability to type.

If screenwriting or playwriting is your thing, the thrill is even more visceral, because at some point or other, actors are actually going to speak these words out loud, and do their best to pretend to believe them.

Anyway, that's why I prefer writing to acting.  I don't really "get" acting, although I understand it has something to do with applause and mirrors. And of course the acting profession is compromised by its close relation to a hundred things which tend to leech at the soul, that is, lying, self-analysis, obsession with personal appearance, and for the sake of rent-paying, giving all your passion and interest to lines like, "This pudding is the best I ever had!'" and "Take me now, before Daddy comes home."

To my mind, writing is just a better gig, because besides the aforementioned omnipotent powers, you can do it in your underwear without makeup. 

BUT, there is one way in which Actors definitely have it over Writers, and I think it's this: the sheer number of people in the competition to be heard. 

Los Angeles has a sub-population of approximately 54 billion actors vs. roughly 72 billion screenwriters (according to the last census, which allowed for hyphenating of job title). Because anyone who can type, seriously, can be a god with a laptop in their underwear.

And then there's the harsh fact that actors age, and they have to figure out how their real age affects their career, and they will get limited opportunities based on what age they appear to be.  And they have to face and make a hard choice about their greatest love, based on biology.  This is a serious, real-world reckoning of self that writers basically don't have to deal with.

Writers age, and they're still writing. They don't go away. I've met writers in their sixties, with very impressive credits on shows from the 70's, who are today trying to to start their own web series, because they can't shake the bug.

So, based on this unscientific example, I have deduced that every dude who wrote one episode of One Tree Hill, or an 80's slumber party movie that you never heard of, is still kicking around LA, chasing the next gig. (Or, with the advent of youtubes and personal blogs, creating their own gigs.)

Actors, for good and practical reasons, pursue becoming a star. (If you're a writer and have this idea that you are doing it to be a star, you are, again, a true hack, and deluded besides.) Stardom is a good gig because at some point you can make the choice to stop acting, because the stardom fuels itself. (Do we know when was the last movie Angelina Jolie was actually in? Anyone?) Then, in their highly-scrutinized and -subsidized way, these stars-gone-nova are able to go back to living their own life.

So, at the end of the arc for actors, there is this dream of freedom. With writers, it's the dream of power.

Of course, some of these ex-staff-writers and former-aspirers have moved on to real jobs as content aggregators or dishwasher salesmen or whathaveyou, but the ones that still have that (really kind of infantile) desire to speak as Gawd, these writers are everywhere. Their stories are their kids, and they never have had their dream beaten out of them by Time. That dream is still the ultimate fun, and they hold onto it until the day they die.

- inspired by David Mamet's "Bambi Vs. Godzilla," which contains many similar rants

4.17.2012

ERP, recollected.

Back in the day, we had a theater company called Emerald Rain Productions (ERP), with the elegantly simple purpose of putting on rock musicals written by me and my songwriter buddy Gaby Alter, whose every cough is some sort of catchy pop hook. It was the best of times. Here is a mock-rock-doc about our adventures, captured in completely antiquated Standard Definition video, painstakingly Final Cutted by me.



4.05.2012

Is Anybody In Los Angeles Happy?

I used to have a co-worker who was a professional wrestler. His way of greeting people was to ask: "Are you happy today?" (as opposed to hi, hey, sup, etc.) Whether you answered truthfully or not, it was always a good conversation starter, and it gave the greeter a good idea of what he was in for, i.e., how much of a bitch you were going to be today. 

It occurred to me yesterday that maybe no one in Los Angeles is happy. I don't really know a person here who's happy on a regular basis. I know a lot of people who are living their lives and doing fun things, like being in movies and having babies and being warm and going to the beach. But it seems there's no one who's innately happy about it, today, in LA.

from http://melroseandfairfax.blogspot.com/
if it's a problem, lemme know

Elaborating: A lot of people are happy about something that might happen tomorrow. This is the big pull of LA. Tomorrow some shotcaller will recognize your whatever and then a house in the hills will fall onto your head and you will never have to do real work again.

A lot of people (like me) are very interested by their lives in LA, because it is culturally the most diverse place on earth and thus endlessly interesting. At the bleeding edge of Western Civilization. No place like it. No time to think about it.

A lot of people are pretty happy about being from LA, but in the way where they'll get drunk and then fuck you up for talking shit about a claimed sector of some neighborhood you've never even been to. And that's not really the kind of happiness I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the kind of happy you get from living in a certain place to the point where you actually annoy other people. And you don't notice, because you're so on the wavelength of happiness, you can't even sense the other thing. I'm talking about the civic joy of New York, whose residents are so narcissistically proud of their town that they think their mayoral race is big news in other cities, and also blindly believe they have the best Chinese food in America (They don't; Los Angeles does, and we should be happy about it, but it's so far to drive there.). I'm talking about the deep self-satisfaction of San Francisco Bay Area people, who walk around with a silly smug smile knowing that they live next to all the best food and the best gadgets and will never have a dull moment because of all the weirdos. I'm talking about the deep romance and history of being in or from Boston, the chilled-out grace of waking up in someplace like Austin, or in whatever that city is in New Mexico.

In Los Angeles, people act out in a way that suggests they're dealing badly with not being happy. Others mistake this behavior for obnoxiousness or stupidity. Most of it, of course, involves driving. For example, why was this Torrance woman texting in her car while driving with her child in her lap? Is that text solving some happiness problem she has that wasn't solved by having the child?

A lot of people in LA are happy, temporarily, to be out on the freeway driving fast, bouncing off the railings and other people, but only when they're not being slowed up by the other drivers who are (categorically) Asians, blind people, illegals, or faggots.

And, OK, then there's that "faggot" thing: I went to a perfectly nice party last week in Echo Park which was briefly interrupted by a street altercation between two guys screaming at each other about being "faggots" and how much they're going to fuck each other up. I wanna say these guys were just young, but honestly they could've been in their mid-30's.

Of course they didn't actually fight. They're not even happy enough about their lives to defend it with physical action. They just want to make sure that the other guy also knows how terrible a person they are.  I have no idea what they were fighting about, but most of the fights I see in Los Angeles boil down to guys calling each other fags and running away. And it's not even said with specific hate towards homosexuals, more like with an overflowing unhappiness directed at all humanity.

The stars are not happy for having "made it." Why does Lindsay Lohan keep crashing her car into things? Because she's so damned happy to be alive?

Rich people are not happy about being rich in LA. At the casino, on a regular basis I met customer/players who had tons of money and lived very cushy lifestyles, and they were all frickin miserable sons of bitches.

Kobe, staring at the ceiling. Yeah, it's the Staples Center ceiling.
But same concept.

Think about it: Kobe, with his dysfunctional team and less-than-seven championships? Not happy. NFL fans? Not happy. The Dodgers? Really not happy. People with families? Getting through life, but kinda worried about all the unhappy people, and then getting divorced. Actor/stripper/models from Ohio? Making a promise to themselves to push away all the people who suck happiness-energy from their lives. Film Industry People? Working on something that might make them happy, tomorrow.

And that is the saving grace of LA, by the way: People work hard, in their fashion. They hustle to make that cheese. The definitive quality of LA is striving. Folks have a dream and are working towards it with energy, with passion, and sometimes with creative inspiration. But without, I would argue, a lot of happiness.

On the other hand, we do have the best Chinese food in the country.
The San Gabriel Valley, and its expanding mini-chains, have the best Chinese food in America.
This is not arguable. It is a fact, and will be recognized as such by anyone who knows what they're talking about.



3.29.2012

Asian Dude-hood & Walking Home From Bars In Los Angeles


As most people know, Los Angeles is not a walking city.  Mainly because there aren't enough people walking.  On an empty street at night, just two people walking around is weird.  You create tension just by being there.  Eye contact is iffy, if you're not prepared to answer the question, "what're you looking at?"    



There's a bar I favor just about three blocks from my apartment.  A walkable bar is a wonderful thing, especially on a warm summer evening.  You get a bit of exercise and of course avoid all that potential drunk-driving nonsense.  

So one night I'm walking home and there's a group of six guys walking maybe 100 meters ahead of me.  They seem to be Asian dudes in their 20s.  We cross the street at the same intersection, walk another block, and then again at the next crossing.  I do have the weird sense that I'm following them, but at this point there's one convenient route to my place.  I'd have to walk far out of my way to avoid these dudes, and to close our comfortable distance and get past them I'd really have to run, which seems ridiculous.

One of the dudes looks back towards me and screams, "ARE YOU FUCKIN' FOLLOWING US?"

I call back, "Dude, I'm walking home."  But thinking, "Really, random Asian guy on street, there are SIX of you.  What the heck am I going to do?  Mow you all down with the automatic weapon I have hidden in my H&M hoodie?  Shouldn't six adult males in a clean West LA neighborhood have enough self-confidence that they are not worried about one medium-sized guy walking home from a bar?  I'm the much more-jumpable party here.  Are you, in fact, high?"

OK, so I had my hockey mask on.  But I still think they were over-reacting.  



On another occasion, I'm walking at night and I see a couple walking along.  Well, "see" is a strong word, because this nice residential block is streetlight-less and thereby almost completely dark.  It's clear that we three people are quickly going to be sharing the same square of sidewalk, and although there's no air of danger about it, there's a bit of an awkward urban vibe because we are all totally masked in shadow.  As we pass each other, the woman says, "Hello."

I smile back, which is pointless, because again, it's ALL DARK.  And thinking: What?  "Hello?"  What was that?  That could've been the girl of my dreams!  The guy she's walking with could've been her brother!  Or some sort of personal Gelfling!  C'est dommage.  The moment had passed, and there wasn't anything to do, because if there's one thing weirder than walking near strangers on a dark street, it is definitely when you stop.  Suddenly.  And start running after them with a follow-up question.    



(reprinted from You Offend Me You Offend My Family)

3.13.2012

Indie Filmmaking in the Age of Terror

Today is the 8-year anniversary of an incident that happened on a shoot, to address the questions: "What kind of contingencies does the money go towards in an indie film shoot?" and "What could possibly go wrong?"



MARCH 13, 2004

...So it's 6:30 AM today and my phone's ringing, I imagine it's someone from cast or crew with some last minute crisis that will require solving before 8 AM calltime.
....Soooooo wrong. It's the LAPD. An officer asks me if I'm renting a truck parked outside the Van Nuys state building (where we're shooting this weekend). Yes, I am. We parked it there last night with all the grip gear because we thought it'd be safe. "It's causing quite a stir," the officer says.
...Flashing back to Friday night, we loaded an Unmarked White rental truck with grip gear to begin a 5 day shoot at the State Building in Van Nuys (which you can sometimes get for free if you're an indie filmmaker and you go through certain hoops, yadda yadda). We parked the truck next to the building because I figured, hey, it's next to a police station, it'll be safe overnight. And then went home to stress about the shotlist.
...At 6:30 AM Saturday morning I'm woken up by my cell phone. It's someone wanting to know about the truck parked in front of the State Building. (In my sleepiness I don't pick up the guy introducing himself the first time) He wants to know if I'm the Dominic Mah who rented it. Yesssss, I say, sensing trouble. "It's causing quite a stir." "What kind of stir?" I ask, and then I remember to ask who again it is that I'm speaking to. Officer Somebody from the LAPD.
...So it turns out that during the night, a patrol car in the Van Nuys area has called in about a suspicious unmarked van parked in front of a State facility. Keeping in mind that this is just a few days after the bombings in Madrid and all of our agencies are understandably at a high state of alert. So they call the bomb squad on this unmarked van, they send a bombsniffing dog to it, and the dog sits. Probably it smells some piece of camera gear that is like something used in bombs, I dunno. At this point, the LAPD goes into action mode. They seal off several blocks' radius around the building, and start busting into the truck, breaking the window and the side door locks. They've already got people rousting the rental company owner out of bed so he can go to his office to use the computer to find my name as the renter.
... Meanwhile the officer on the phone is telling me first to drive to Van Nuys right away, then he changes his mind once he figures out I won't be able to get through the blockade. So they send a local police car to get me instead. Within two minutes, a siren is approaching my apt, just about the same time I'm getting out of my pajamas. I throw on clothes and run outside, where the car is pulling up to the front of my building. The officer says, "Are you Dominic Mah?" Yeah, I say. "Ever wanted to ride in a police car real fast?" he says.
... Actually, no. But I get in anyway and off we go with sirens blaring towards Van Nuys. When we get there about ninety seconds later, we have to go through several checkpoints before getting to the place where I parked, in search of something called the CP (I guess this is "Command Post."). When we reach the truck, I have to stay inside the car for a while until they're ready to talk to me. There are dozens of cops, firemen, and federal officers (identifiable by their jackets that say "Federal Officer" on them) around. I hear someone say, "So how much is this costing the city?" By this time they seem to have figure out that there is no imminent terrorist threat and they're all acting a bit embarassed to be there. A man from the bomb squad approaches me, very friendly, and says "Mr. Mah, I'm going to show you some of the things we had to do to enter your vehicle."
... The things they had to do included breaking through the passenger side window and also the lock on the side door, all so they could get inside and rummage around our rented lighting equipment. I was a little too shocked still to be know what to say, and the police, now that I had arrived, were in a hurry to disperse. The bomb squad guy gave me his card and told me how to file a claim with the city. The explained to me several times how the bombings in Madrid had put them on alert, and how we were living in a new world. Then they left before I had the presence of mind to ask them to clean up the shattered glass around the truck. I'm standing there dumbfounded for about ten minutes, and then the crew starts showing up to begin our shooting day.
... Anyway, that was how our little indie movie encountered the War on Terror. It's funny because there are probably hundreds of white grip trucks parked around Los Angeles on any given night. It's just not a good idea to park them next to state facilities without marking them with some sort of contact info. A lesson learned.
... Oh, and I almost forgot the (in hindsight) funniest part. While I was initially on the phone with the police, in my PJs, and told them that the truck was full of lighting equipment, he started running down the airline security questions on me. "Were you present when the truck was loaded?" "Uh....no...my friend did it." "What's your friend's name?" "Uh...Wolf." (Instantly regretted saying this.) "What's his first name?" (Wolf is actually his first name.) "Uh....Aasulv....he's from Norway." (Instantly regretted saying Norway.) This was the point at which I was sure that the movie was all over. Instead though, the movie is happily finished shooting and I'm just waiting for a reimbursement from the city for the truck damage.

(...which, post-scriptually, never happened. The small claims court found for the LAPD and I had to eat the $900 damage bill. But as they say, it is all in the game.)

3.12.2012

confidence game

When discussing with women the whole male-female thing, "confidence" is usually a big word. Women like confidence. Confidence is attractive.

When observing male-female interactions and pursuits in bars/casinos/the sidewalk, it is apparent that confident people are douchebags.

True confidence, whatever that is, perhaps not a bad thing. But the performance of confidence by people
who have been advised to show confidence, or are confident that confidence alone will advance them? Dude.

"I am confident that this is true. I am confident that your contrary opinion is wrong. I am confident that you want to be told what to do."

Also, women have been known to confuse "confidence" with entitlement. Because entitled dudes are confident, which is to say sure, that you owe it to them. But to be fair, the gals who make that mistake have been making their own bed for a while.

There is a kind of tunnel-vision confidence that it takes to exert your will over another person, and another kind that is needed to be a writer, adding excessive words to a world that already has sunsets. That second kind does not really get you laid as often.

So, what I'm saying is, fuck confidence. 

3.08.2012

Spider-Man the Musical by Dommah


My version of the Spiderman musical, as directed by Julie Taymor, with music by U2:

SPIDER-MAN: RATTLE & THWIP

SCENE 1
Spider-Man hangs upside-down over a city skyline comprised of gargoyle shadow puppets and people in Noh masks.

SPIDER-MAN: I'm WIIIIIDE AWAAAKE. I'm WIIIIIIDE AWAAAAAKE. I'm not SLEEPING.

Bono enters, wearing a yellow and green jumpsuit. He portrays the Fly, one of Spider-Man's all-time lamest foes.

THE FLY: A man will rise! / A man will fall! / From the sheer face of evil villainry! / Like a fly on the wall!

Spidey and the Fly fight using capoeira. Spidey dispatches the Fly quickly. Harry Osborn / The Hobgoblin enters. Spidey spins a web, ensnaring him. Mary Jane Watson enters in traditional Chinese Opera costume. Both Spidey and Harry moon over her.

HARRY OSBORN: My hands are webbed / My body bruised, she's got me with / Nothing to win, and nothing left to lose....

Gwen Stacy enters, wearing traditional African head-dress.

SPIDER-MAN: I have run / I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls with my amazing ability to cling to vertical surfaces
Theeeeese vertical surfaces / Only to be with you....

Arachne, a mythological reference that has been cutely added to this production, enters:

ARACHNE: What you don't have you don't need it now
What you don't know you can sense it somehow with your weird tingly spider-sense power....

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: I know everything! EVERYTHING! It's a beautiful day!

HARRY / HOBGOBLIN: You've got to get yourself together... Nnrgggh....now you got stuck in a giant web created by a mutated human gland and you can't get out of it!

Doc Ock enters.

DOCTOR OCTOPUS: On your knees, boy!

Spider-Man unmasks so as to protect his loved ones. Peter Parker has a reflective moment:

PETER PARKER: So J. Jonah Jameson comes up to me
His face red like a rose on a thorn bush
Like all the colours of a royal flush
And he's peeling off those dollar bills
Slapping them down
One hundred, two hundred!
And I can see those fighter planes....

Aunt May enters and offers him a bowl of tapioca.

PETER PARKER: A spider-boy tries hard to be a spider-man / His aunt takes him by his hand
If he stops to think he starts to cry / Oh why?

AUNT MAY: If you web-swing away, web-swing away, web-swing away, web-swing away.....I will follow!

Peter puts the mask back on so as to escape his pestering loved ones.

SPIDER-MAN: You got to cry without weeping
Talk without speaking
Fight evil clones of yourself without raising your voice
You know I took the radiation
From the bite of a radioactive spider
Then I wall-crawled....out of here....

HARRY OSBORN / HOBGOBLIN: THE EDGE!

MARY JANE: I say....I want.... / diamonds on a ring of gold / your origin story to remain untold / a pimped-out black Lexus / and not to be killed by some crazy lizard-looking freak....

SPIDER-MAN: ....when all I want is YOU-HOOOOOO! All I want is YOU-OOOOOH!

The Venom / Black Alien Suit Symbiote Thing enters.

VENOM / SYMBIOTE: One life / But we're not the same / We get to carry each other, carry each other!

Spider-Man fights Venom, and Hobgoblin, and Doctor Octopus, and African poverty. Gwen Stacy paints herself blue and dances around.

VILLAINS: Spider-Man throws me just like a rubber ball / Oh oh oh, the Spider-Man!
He won't catch me or break my fall / Oh oh oh, the Spider-Man!

SPIDER-MAN: One man bombarded by cosmic rays
One man is Iron Fist
One man changed by a Gamma Bomb
One man betrayed with a kiss

BONO: For Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and the Thing....sing!

ALL: In the naaaaame! Of Love! What more! In the name of Love!!!!!

SPIDER-MAN: Definitely could use a mouth-hole for the singing. Note to self: Mouth-hole.

CURTAIN.


orig. post 4/17/07

3.07.2012

V: a poem about love and aliens.

Rediscovered a poem I wrote from a while back, for a Brit-Korean gal I used to hold a torch for, in Taiwan. Somehow it is also related to a conversation with my Korean then-roommate about the difference in English between "corny" and "cheezy" while we were in the youth hostel watching a late-night rerun of "V: The Final Battle."

V (Taipei Hostel)

You had a moment laughing there where you made the elevator nervous.
Maybe it expected you to put your hand over your mouth.
Maybe it resented being called a lift like someone who finds you on the street.
Elevators have many rules and when you opened your mouth it slowed to a dewdrop,
hit the stop button, outed the lights, and the security camera's red gaze
found the soap opera story of the raven hair girl who lost
her true love and was saved by a dog.

It'll be a catastrophe. Imagine the end of life as you knew it.
The ice cream man you chased as a kid became a truck to collect all that sweet garbage.
All those cozy dripping buildings, covered smiles, infrared fruit stands, racist toothpaste and
cold bowls of chocolate flakes that hold me together are blown to bits.
We all agree that the alien queen on TV looks a bit like Wonder Woman.
But what does she look like on the inside? What if she's a woman pretending to eat people?
What if the second between a kiss and a couple inches bite off the face she considers, dreams maybe.
When she puts herself together in the morning for marshmallow hearts how do you know
if you're a boy girl snake vegetarian alone or apart when there
so many
little pieces?

3.06.2012

paperclips

The principle of resource waste and humankind's eventual doom is pretty well illustrated, I think, in paperclips.

There's no reason, especially in the modern online society, that anybody should ever need to buy a box of paperclips. Think about it, a box has at least a million paperclips in it. Your whole life, maybe you need two boxes of paperclips. EXCEPT there's few things that are easier to MISPLACE than a box of paperclips, 'cause they're so darned small, and also if you're throwing out trash it's very easy to think, "I will rid myself of the burden of this box of paperclips."

And then eventually you need a paperclip again.

Somewhere out there is a factory manufacturing tons and tons of paperclips, just to replace all the ones that were bought, and then lost, or thrown away, because they were thought useless.

And that is how the world's gonna end.

I believe this principle also applies to the penny.