Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I just woke up and was told that it's tomorrow

I just woke up at 10am in New York on New Years Eve and got a message from a friend in Sydney Australia. It's after 2am on Jan 1st there. I just woke up, don't even know what I'm doing for party stuff tonight, and for some the party is already over.

Freaking weird...

Monday, December 29, 2008

So, some stuff has happened

Here's what's happened since I last posted.

Flying out Friday night my flight was delayed a couple hours due to weather (though none of it was in LA), nearly making me miss my connecting flight at JFK, I really didn't want to miss this flight. It was Christmastime, in the snow, with tons of people flying, and I knew that if I didn't make my connection I'd be stuck at an airport for hours if not days.

We land at JFK, and luckily I get out just in time to see that my connecting flight has been delayed half an hour. I get to the gate just as they should be letting us board. There were about 5 different flights all leaving from the same gate, so there was nowhere to sit, barely room to stand. Of course this meant that some airport jackass had to drive through us with an empty oversized golf cart.

They delayed the flight half an hour again. And again. And again. Every time they said that we should not leave the boarding area. I was running on no sleep, and kinda pissed. Two and a half hours after we were supposed to take off we finally got on the plane. I was ecstatic. We learned that part of why we were delayed was that some asshole had ripped up some of the emergency track lighting on the plane's previous flight, and they had to fix that with shorthanded staff.

But I was ok, because I knew we were finally leaving for my 40 minute flight to Burlington, VT. Or so I thought. We then had to wait two hours on the plane for the de-icer. Then another two hours for the runway to take off. I was beginning to consider what life would be like living on that plane on that runway, how the view would change as the seasons passed. Finally we took off, landing 40 minutes later in a city with 3 feet of snow. 15 hours earlier I had been in Los Angeles. This was an adjustment.

I had worn my winter hiking boots for the first time in two years, noticing a crack across the soles of each of them when I put them on. They were old boots, but I figured they could last the trip. They did not. By the time my brother met me at the airport the heel of one of them had cracked open like the San Andreas fault and all the rubber had fallen out from the inside. In all my years of living in New England I had never seen boots do something like that. It was pretty fucking weird.

Burlington was fun. I hung out with all my brother's hippie friends, even played wingman for some of them a few nights, getting them some play. I felt good about myself.

On Christmas Eve my brother and I set out for the 5 hour drive from VT to my parents' place on Cape Cod. We learned after we had been on the road for an hour that we were going to a fancy dinner at 5pm with our whole family. We tried to haul ass to get there in time, but got stuck in more traffic, and ended up getting there an hour late, unshaven, and having not showered. Not sure how I smelled, but I'm sure it wasn't great.

Christmas was nice, although my brother gave me some kind of crazy feverish Burlington cold he had, so I've been sick on my parents' couch the past few days. Now I'm recovering enough to go to New York in a couple days for some new year's eve fun.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Redeye flights and packing like a champion

I'm about to leave LA on the redeye flight tonight to go to the Northeast for two weeks. The reason I'm being nonspecific and saying "Northeast" is that I'm not just going to Boston. I'm flying to NYC, then right on to Burlington VT, driving through Boston to Cape Cod, going back to Boston, then going to New York for New Year's Eve and then finally flying back to LA.

I hate dealing with checked baggage, and since I'm going to be running around all over the place having a big suitcase would really be a pain in the ass, so I'm just going carry-on. Not even packing liquids so I can get through security super-fast (although being as nerdy and caucasian as I am I rarely get stopped, and when I do it's just for about 3 seconds).

I have not packed. Plus, I have to do some laundry before I can pack, otherwise I'll be packing dirty clothes with the intention of washing them when I get back east. I am at work today, which usually goes until 7pm but I'm going to try to get out early, that way I can actually get laundry done, pack for two weeks of very cold weather, and get to the airport in time to have a couple drinks at the Delta terminal bar before getting on the redye.

I like redeyes because you don't lose a whole day of your vacation to the traveling. Plus it's fun to hang out at the bar before the flight and get on the plane a bit buzzed. And almost nobody brings little kids on redeyes. Don't get me wrong, I love kids, but not when they're screaming on flights, or when they decide to share the cold they got in Miss Flickenberger's 1st Grade class with the rest of a Boeing 737. People don't bring kids on redeyes unless they're really strapped for time or if they really don't like their kids.

Sure, I'll be kind of a zombie tomorrow probably and want to take a nap, but I'll be in my brother's place in VT, so that won't really be a problem. A good nap will help me rally before we head out into the frigid north to get a few drinks around Burlington, which I hear is a pretty fun town.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I miss Firefly

I have a little "quote of the day" gadget on my Google homepage, and one of the ones on there today was from Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog. This inspired me to look up Joss Whedon quotes in general (including one of my favorites: "Always be yourself. Unless you suck"). I then started reading quotes from the short-lived series Firefly.

I haven't watched any of these episodes in a while, but reading these quotes makes me remember why I loved it so much. I wish it were still on.

I'm excited to see what Dollhouse will be like, and I'm sure I'll be a fan of the show, but it's no Firefly I'm sure. Firefly is the show that made me first get on the Joss Whedon bandwagon, made me really want to write for television, specifically one of his shows. I learned the ins and outs of the 4 act TV structure by watching those episodes so many times that I started noticing the details of the structure.

Every single episode of Firefly can be described on a scale from "very good" to "amazing". Had the series continued, I doubt that every episode would have been good. Every show has it's ups and downs. But I do believe that the series as a whole would have continued to be excellent. It's a show I wish I had been able to write for, and even though never saw it on the air (I like many others discovered it on DVD), I miss it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Total bummer

Remember my rage a couple months back that Microsoft had killed my computer until Dell came in to fix it? Well it's happened again.

Microsoft autoupdates installed Service Pack 3, and my computer could no longer boot windows normally. It was pretty similar to what happened last time, so I'm fairly certain that the video card was fried, just like last time. But this time it was a brand new video card, not an older one.

I learned my lesson and called Dell right away instead of trying to deal with Microsoft tech support guys in Mumbai, but he wasn't able to fix it. Instead, they're sending me a new computer, which is cool of them.

It'll be a pain in the ass to get my old files off my old computer (especially music and stuff like that) but it'll be a newer machine, which is nice. Another downside though is that they may only have the red casing for the laptop, not the black. So in the future I may be writing on a computer that looks like it was built to launch nuclear missiles from the Kremlin.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This week in Obvious...

It took a scientific study to prove that dogs can get jealous.

Seriously, anyone who's ever had more than one dog at the same time could have told you this. When I was a kid we had three dogs. I had an uncle with five, and my cousins had two. On the holidays there would be ten dogs under one roof. You could easily tell that they all had distinct personalities, and they would get mad about things, especially if you paid more attention to one over the other.

In this study they had two dogs do tricks, and after then did it one got fed and the other didn't. The hungry dog became agitated.

I can't wait to see their next $10 million study when they dump a bucket of water on the floor and then see if the floor is wet. It should really change our perceptions of the world.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bad way to start your morning

Know how sometimes you wake up early in the morning and think, "oh shit, I have to go to work" then you remember that it's Saturday, and you can go back to sleep since you have nowhere to go? Isn't that a great feeling?

I had the opposite this morning. I opened my eyes thinking it was Saturday for some reason, then remembered that it was actually Friday and I had to get up and go to work.

Total bummer.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I think Starbucks coffee is more addictive than other coffees

I have no legitimate data to back up my hypothesis, but it really wouldn't surprise me if I'm actually right.

All I know is that back when I used to drink a ton of coffee I never got headaches when I went without it for a day until I started brewing starbucks coffee in our office.

Scientists, get on this.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I've recently coined this term to explain the problem found in many pieces of historical fiction, in particular scripts about significant figures in history. I call it B.R.A.S., which stands for Biopic Reach-Around Syndrome. It occurs when the writer holds his subject in too high a regard, and therefore spends the entire script attempting to jerk them off/perform cinematic fellatio on them.

It's always a significant point in history, and the people are always passionate, never doubt themselves, and come up with marvelous displays of their own brilliance. It's never, "a man walks into a bar and meets a friend for a drink". It's always, "Our hero walks into [insert name of famous bar] while the TV shows news coverage of [insert seminal moment in history] and meets [insert other famous figure]. They proceeded to be awesome together."

The writer puts his subject up on a pedestal, and so he/she ceases to be human. Then the story comes off flat, like it's kissing someone's ass. This format works fine when you're doing short reenactments for a History Channel documentary, but doesn't work for a movie.

The reason it happens so often is that movie scripts take a long time to write, so for a writer to devote the time to writing a biopic they have to like the person enough to devote months of their lives to writing a story about that person. Generally they hold this figure in high regard, and can't help but try and show them in the best light possible.

The other reason is that a lot of people in LA are star-fuckers. To them, a story is interesting if there are famous people in it, even if the story isn't very exciting to begin with. Going to Starbucks for a coffee isn't interesting, and these people agree. However, if you go to Starbucks for coffee and George Clooney is line in front of you, these people now think that's a fantastic story worth telling. And maybe it is worth telling to your co-workers when you sit back at your desk with your latte, but it's not something you should put in your memoirs, and it's definitely not something worth writing a movie about.

Plus a lot of biopic movies are M.O.W.'s on TV networks, which tend to have a lower quality of writing than more mainstream movies.

I'm not saying all biopics are like this, but the biopics that succeed are the ones that try to get at the truth of their subject, not jerk off to their memory on celluloid.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Multiplicity Sushi Restaurant

There's a sushi restaurant down the street from our office, which we assume is family run. We assume this because nearly every person who works there is identical, with the exception of a woman we assume is their mom, because she also kinda looks like them. Either the guys running the place are identical triplets, or they're the results of a strange cloning experiment. Another piece of evidence supporting the cloning theory is that one of the "brothers" could be described as slightly off, by which I mean we believe he may have some sort of social anxiety problem. But then again , we're Hollywood assistants, what the hell do we know.

In the movie Multiplicity, Michael Keaton made clones of himself so he could have more personal time. Then the clones made a clone of one of themselves, who was then a little slow. In the end, the two regular clones and the "special" clone went and opened up a pizza parlor together.

Now since this Sushi place is located right between a whole bunch of movie production companies, I'm wondering if the guys who developed Multiplicity ate at this restaurant, saw all these clone-type brothers, and that gave them the idea. It's Hollywood, crazier things have happened.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Funny timing

One of my bosses thinks that unless I'm doing company work during every waking hour of my life I'm being a slacker, and that "everyone in the industry does this" while failing to mention that other people in the industry also get paid overtime and get health benefits, which I do not. I also don't have any real hope of advancing within the company since it's a very small operation, and this guy hasn't done enough in town to really add any prestige to my job. It's only a matter of time until I move on to elsewhere and this is just another line on my resume, so I have no incentive whatsoever to go the extra mile here and sacrifice what little free time I still have left.

He was giving me shit for not taking scripts home with me every night during the week, which is ridiculous because we don't even get that many scripts in the office, even if I did have time to read it between leaving the office at 8pm and coming back the next morning at 8:45.

Right after I walked out of his office saddled with a pile of annoying crap to go through over the weekend I got an email from my college "alumni in entertainment" group with a job listing for a Writer's Asst job on a TV show. This is exactly the kind of job I want to have next since I want to write for TV, plus it's a full time job with benefits since it's set up at a studio.

I'm totally applying for this.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Got sick

I caught a cold on my flight back to Boston on Wednesday. This is what happens when I don't take red-eye flights. See, on the red-eye no one really takes their kids with them, it'd be cruel to the kids. On the rare times you see a kid on a red-eye you think "wow, that mom must either be really strapped for time or must not like her kid."

Either way the result is fewer children on the plan, ergo, fewer passengers carrying every germ they picked up that week in elementary school, therefore fewer germs in the air on the plane. When I fly during regular human hours, there are plenty of kids. And now I have a sore throat.

I took yesterday off from work, and while it was nice to be able to sit on my ass and watch DVD's and drink tea, my stupid east coast puritanical work ethic makes me feel guilty even about that, so I only took the one day. Now I'm at work, and I don't want to be here. I'm tired, and my throat hurts worse than it did this morning.

Also on the plus side, NewGirl (who isn't so new anymore, but I can't just call her "Girl") brought me some soup from Canter's last night. It was very sweet of her, and the soup was very good. Gotta hand it to the Jews, they can makes some pretty good comfort food.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Nobody Takes Vacations in Hollywood"

I got to work this morning and was talking to a guy here about whether or not it's a good idea to submit projects to people right before they leave for Thanksgiving.

I'm of the opinion that people will take a break from work, and likely forget about random submissions, so it's better to get them when they come back to the office. Unless it's hugely important, who's going to ignore family they haven't seen in a year to read a 7-page treatment for a movie?

My buddy in the office is of the opinion that most people are workaholics and holidays are a great time to catch up on work. He said, "Nobody takes vacations in Hollywood." I'm still not convinced.

And I definitely intend to make Thanksgiving a vacation. I'm going back east to experience some cold weather, see my family, eat some turkey, and relax since I haven't had a day off in months. I don't get paid enough to sacrifice a holiday to pointless work.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finding Time

I use my google Calendar hooked up to my blackberry to keep track of everything going on in my life. If I didn't, I wouldn't be able to remember everything I'm supposed to do that week and double book all the time. Plus this way I can look back at my old appointments to remember when I did stuff. It's tough remembering exactly when something in your past happened when there's no difference in weather to use as a reference.

So looking at that calendar, I find that there's very little spare time on it. My day job takes up pretty much my entire week. I can fit in something for a couple hours after work most nights, but that's pretty much it, and if I have something scheduled every night, I feel swamped because I'm trying to fit in the life of an aspiring writer on top of a time-sucking day job.

First, I need to schedule in time to write. I have my spec class every other tuesday, and I need to schedule in time for me to do the work for that class. Plus I have the pilot that I'm working on with my roommate which we work on Thursday nights. Now I'm adding in a cross country work session with my buddy from high school to work on a feature script idea of ours on Wednesday nights.

Second I need to schedule in the other aspects of my life which inform the writing. This includes seeing the significant movies that have been released, staying caught up with some of the popular tv shows (Hulu makes this easier since I can't afford cable), and reading for pleasure since I enjoy it and Stephen King recommends it as an important way to improve as a writer (I even joined a book club that meets once a month).

And lastly there's my actual life (which is also something that informs and inspires the writing). I have friends that I try to stay in touch with and see whenever possible, which is a lot harder when we're not all living in the same dorm anymore.

I'm also fitting in a lot of time with the new girl. Still not sure exactly what our status is, but we've been seeing a lot of each other over the last month and a half, and more often than not that includes some kind of sleepover, so that entire night is lost to anything else (not that I'm complaining, I very much enjoy it, especially after going without this kind of thing in my life for a while). She's very fun to hang out with, and saucy in ways that make me very thankful I'm living the single life with girls like her instead of getting engaged like my ex just did. She even brought me to a strip club this past weekend, which is something I never thought I'd do with a girl I was dating, but it was her idea and we had a lot of fun (NOTE: Strippers LOVE hot girls who show up in the club. They do all sorts of extra crazy stuff for them).

Monday, November 10, 2008

My ex is engaged

After spending the entire weekend with the new girl, I rolled out of bed Sunday afternoon and checked facebook. Right at the top of the newsfeed was a picture of my college girlfriend and a guy who was a year ahead of us at school that we were friends with. She looked like she'd just been crying, he was feeding her cake, and she had a diamond ring on her finger.

Apparently they'd been dating for months, and all my friends thought I would freak out if they told me, which of course I didn't do when I found out. Even though my ex and I were together for three and a half years, I'm not the jealous type. After I broke up with her a semester before we graduated I only hoped she'd be happy, so hopefully she will be now.

It was just kind of a mind blowing experience for me though. I had to pretend not to react long enough to walk the new girl down to her car, and then I was able to say "holy shit..." and think it over.

I had broken up with her because the end of college was coming up, and it was looking like we were going in very different directions (and to different coasts). Essentially my choices were to to either break up or buy an engagement ring and hope we could deal with the distance when I went to CA and she went to law school. I was 21 years old, and not ready to get engaged, so we broke up. Now it looks like she was in a similar situation with this guy as law school was ending. I'm not sure what his situation is, but it appears he is able to go with her after she graduates from law school.

Breaking her heart was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and I wasn't sure if she'd ever be able to forgive me. I know the cliche is that I should be weird and inapproriately jealous or something, but in all honesty I'm really glad that she's happy now.

But at the same time this whole episode reminds me of just how not ready I am for marriage or any of that. I'm young, broke, and trying to break into a very tough industry. I won't be ready to settle down like that until I have some success out here. Trying to fit a marriage into that wouldn't be fair to me or my wife, so I'm happy to delay that for another five years or so. I don't even want to get a dog until I know I'm able to really take care of it. I can't even think about starting a family right now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Too long in one place

I've really been feeling like I need a vacation at work recently. I'm not as patient, find that I'm not learning much of anything new. I'm really ready to move on to something new, especially something I've been looking forward to and working toward (i.e. tv writing).

Instead I'm stuck working between 50-60 hours a week with no overtime pay or benefits. I make so little money as an assistant that after paying for basic necessities like rent, car payments, and food I'm not really able to handle much else, including paying down some credit card debt I worked up last year when I was unemployed during the writer's strike. Since this job takes up so much of my time, it's difficult to find times to write.

I'm in a program working on a one hour TV drama spec, which has been interesting but we move along so slowly that it's hard to stay motivated and focused on one 43 page script for 5 months. I'm also working on an original pilot with my roommate, but he's only able to schedule me in for one meeting to work on it a week, and half the time that ends up getting canceled for some reason. I always try to reschedule it when it's canceled, but he never has time to, despite the fact that he always makes the time to work on comedy sketches with other people he knows.

But this is all what I've been dealing with for the two years since I moved to LA, so why should I start feeling it now? It hit me this morning while I was making coffee at the office (which seems like days ago's been a long day).

For my entire life, things have always been broken up a bit. All through school there was summer break (in addition to the various vacations and other time off during the year you get). Just when I was getting antsy and dissatisfied with being a junior in high school, summer came, and after a three month break working in a record store I returned as a senior, a completely different routine.

A similar pattern continued on through college. Now, I graduated over two years ago, so you think the pattern would break there, but here's what happened to me:

I spent 4 months living at home and working temp jobs in Boston. One job lasted a month and a half, another lasted almost 3 months, and neither had much in the way of responsibilities. It was also during this time I had the most time to write that I've had since, and it shows. That was when I was able to finish my first feature script.

After the 4 months in Boston I moved across the country to LA. Definitely a change of scenery. We found an apartment, and a month later I found my first job. The guy I worked for was a small time independent film producer, and I shouldn't have worked for him for more than 5 months, but I ended up staying 7 and a half. I was REALLY ready to go by then, and not just because of itchy feet, but I should note that I was working there for close to the equivalent of a school year.

Then I worked another job for 3 months, then came the writer's strike in which I was unemployed for almost another 3. I started my current job in the beginning of February 2008. It has now been over 8 months. Never in my life have I ever worked anywhere for this long without some sort of break. I took a long weekend to go back east in August, but other than that I've worked every single day, with the exception of one half day I took when I was sick.

Not only am I getting burnt out, but my body and mind are also expecting me to move on. They've had enough, they know that we're now due for something else.

I guess this is just a necessary part of growing up, though I bet I would deal with it better if I were being paid a bit more than minimum wage and felt satisfied with my job.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voted this morning

I voted this morning. If you're reading this and polls are still open and you haven't voted, get your ass down there. If you're in California especially make sure to vote No on Prop 8.

I woke up around 6:40, rolled out of bed and walked around the corner to my local polling place (so convenient) and got in line around 6:50. By the time the polls opened at 7am the line was twice as long. When I left around 7:20 the line was three times as long.

What I found strange was that nobody was conducting exit polls. It really makes you wonder how accurate those things can be if they literally don't have anybody taking the polls at some locations.

While it's a beautiful day in LA now, at 7am it was still a little wet and rainy, which I found funny. They always talk about weather affecting voter turnout, but nobody ever thinks it will happen in Los Angeles. And of course they were right, the sun came right out and now it's another beautiful Southern California day.

Also on a positive note, the starbucks around the corner from the polling place gave me a free cup of coffee because I was wearing an "I Voted" sticker.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I totally called this months ago

You may recall that back in early September when McCain and Obama were still neck and neck in the polls I said that the numbers would correct, and that they probably weren't accurate when it came to younger voters since we don't have landlines, just cell phones.

Well according to Wired Magazine, I was right.

It's just another example of how the world has changed. You can't run a campaign, an election, or the country the same way you could 10 years ago.

This is why Net Neutrality is an incredibly important issue, even though nobody seems to be talking about it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Regarding all this "spread the wealth" nonsense

I just need to say something. Everyone's talking about Obama's tax policy as "spreading the wealth." The way they talk about it you'd think that as soon as you make more than a quarter million dollars the IRS will show up at your house and give your car to a person on welfare who hasn't had a job in 40 years.

That's not what's happening.

They're not going to take your money and give it to someone else. What happens when you pay taxes is that the government takes the money you just earned. If the lower/middle classes get to keep more of their money, they're not taking anything from the rich people.

It's not like Obama wants to give everyone making less than $100K/year a free Xbox. He wants them to be able to keep a little more of their money, which will go towards them being able to pay their bills on time.

I'm a pretty well educated guy, but I don't make a lot of money. I'm paying my dues as a Hollywood assistant, meaning I make barely above minimum wage despite my Ivy league education. If I were given a bit of a break on my taxes, I wouldn't spend it on luxuries. I'd pay off my credit cards, student loans, and that kind of thing. If I had a particularly good month I might go out to eat a little more (as in CPK, not Spago), and contribute to the economy in other small ways.

Life is expensive, and I'm getting by paycheck to paycheck. I'm working hard, and I'm tired. I'm not taking anyone's money, I'm keeping a bit more of my own. If and when I'm making more someday (hopefully someday soon as a screenwriter) then I understand that I won't be able to keep as much of my money. That's fine. I'll be able to afford it then.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Politics and my mom

I was talking to my mom this morning on the phone, and since we're a week away from all the election insanity ending, politics was a topic of conversation.

I was telling her about something called Proposition 8 that we have out here in California. Prop 8 is basically the uber-conservative reaction to the state supreme court's decision to allow gays to marry in California. The language of it is "to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry". That's right, eliminate the right. They actually want language saying that they want to take away a right. If you live in California, vote NO on 8, which will allow gay marriage to go along as it has since the California Supreme Court ruled it could.

When I told my mom what Prop 8 was trying to do, she was appalled. She's all for gay marriage. She's pro-choice. She doesn't want religion going anywhere near schools, especially when it comes to creationism in biology class. She used to be a teacher, and was so sickened with public schools in this country that she put my brother, sister, and me in private school as soon as we could afford to.

As I've described her, you'd probably describe her as a pretty liberal person. That's not how she sees herself. She lives in Massachusetts, a very intellectual and very very blue state. In that political climate, she considers herself a conservative. When I explained to her that she'd be viewed as a bleeding heart liberal in other parts of the country, she was surprised. She's not registered for either party, but tends to lean Republican in state elections. Massachusetts is so blue that a Republican has to be pretty moderate to get elected there.

So she aligned herself with one side, not realizing that in doing so she was also putting herself on the same side as the Christian right. She's not a huge fan of Obama, but after we all explained to her what was going on with McCain-Palin, she doesn't think she could vote for them either.

I guess the point of all this is to make sure you look at the whole picture if you pick a side. Don't just go straight down the ballot for your party. Think about every election, and make a real choice. Be skeptical of both sides before you decide who to vote for. Otherwise we all find ourselves getting into the "Rah-Rah Go team go!" mindset with one party or the other and look at bad choices with rose-colored glasses.

That's the real reason there are so many incompetent people in politics.

Don't just vote. THINK, then vote.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trying to think of a good Halloween costume

Trying to come up with a good Halloween costume is tricky when you don't want to spend any money.

I'm going to a party with the new girl I think. She's getting dressed up a beer wench (which i'm somewhat excited to see), but I didn't want to do anything related to that because we only just started seeing each other, and either way, it's a little lame to do that.

She suggested all sorts of stuff that would make me look "so cute" like dressing as a cowboy or something, but I was having none of that.

Instead I think I'm going to get a Spider man t-shirt, and wear that under a regular button-down shirt unbuttoned most of the way so it looks like I'm Peter Parker changing into Spider man. As a nerdy white guy, I think I can pull it off.

Now all I have to do is find the t-shirt.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yeah, not so much with the juggling actually

So there I was all convinced I was going to juggle lots of casual dates around all over the place. Then I hit it off with a new girl on a Friday night. I was supposed to hang out with Painter Chick on Saturday night, and was no longer as motivated to do so.

Painter Chick and I had vague plans to hang out that night, to be determined day of. She never called me, and I ended up not calling her, so I guess that ended that. Really I think it's for the best. As fun of an experience as getting to know that girl could have been, I'm really not the "take shrooms and go to Burning Man" type.

Instead I've been spending more time with this new girl, who scored major points with me by having Boddington's beer in her fridge. I also scored major points with her, because her dog who "doesn't like a lot of people" pretty much instantly fell in love with me. I guess dogs can tell dog people.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Learning to juggle

I'm not literally learning how to juggle, although that would be a fun skill to have.

Rather I'm learning how to juggle as it pertains to going out with more than one girl at once. Now before you call me a cheating pig, I'm not talking about sleeping with girls on the side while I'm in a relationship. I'm talking more about scheduling casual dates with multiple girls over the course of a week.

Painter chick and I had one of those "get to know you over coffee" things last week and we're setting up another time to hang out again soon. But in the meantime I'm also pursuing other avenues, including drinks with someone else this past tuesday that led to drinks again for tonight.

I'm also keeping an eye on a couple of those situations in which two heterosexual people of the opposite sex become friends with some flirtation thrown into the mix. It's hard to tell if we're hanging out as friends, or as potentially more than friends. Really you just play it cool and see what happens, and if something does develop you retroactively call those times you hung out "dates."

So I have a bunch of things going on right now, which isn't how I normally work. Usually I find one girl I like, pursue her, and it either works or it doesn't. If it doesn't I start over from square one with someone new.

This method is more just me putting myself out there a lot, to see what develops on its own. There's less pressure on each date that way, which is something I like. And I'm also very aware that I'm only 24 right now. This is the phase of my life when I'm supposed to date around a lot and see what's what.

In a few years I'm sure I'll find someone I actually like with more long term potential, and be more open to things becoming more serious, but for the moment I have no interest in jumping on the road to marriage or anything like that.

All I know is, I'm having some guilt-free fun getting to know people right now. I figure as long as nobody's feelings are getting hurt it's all good.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lap dogs and signs of the Apocalypse

So a movie just came out this past weekend, called "Beverly Hills Chihuahua". It grossed $29.3 million for the weekend.

All us Hollywood assistant types heard about this movie months ago. We all hoped it was just a sick joke, but no, there it was: a trailer with 5,000 Taco Bell dogs singing. Surprisingly, we all had the same response to it independent of one another.

We said, "This must be a sign of the Apocalypse."

Cut to this week, when the movie proves that it's not a cruel joke, that it's a real movie, and worst of all, it's the number one movie in the box office that weekend.

Tim Robbins was on the Daily Show last night and got to talking about it. Guess what his analysis of it was: "It's a sign of the Apocalypse."

We have meteors the size of SmartCars crashing into the Earth, the financial markets crashed down so hard that people are starting to stock up on canned goods and are hiding their money in their mattresses. These are also not good signs.

Is the universe trying to warn us that we're going to have a repeat of the William Henry Harrison/John Tyler Presidency if McCain/Palin wins?

For those who need a little refresher, William Henry Harrison was our ninth President. He was known for serving only a month in office because he gave the longest inauguration address in presidential history, with no overcoat, on a very cold day in March (it was years later that they moved inauguration up to January). Since he was the first President to die in office, the line of succession wasn't as clearly defined as it is today. John Tyler, who had been VP for a month, became President. Now he wasn't all that bad I guess as far as Presidents in the 1840's go, but there was still a lot of uproar about it.

So look at today. John McCain has wanted to be President for so long he's willing to throw out all of his principles and scruples to get it, so if he wins, you know he's going to savor the moment like crazy. This time the inauguration will be in January. It can get cold in Washington. He's 72. While we do have much better doctors today than William Henry Harrison had in 1845, common sense tells you not to leave an old man out in the cold that long. McCain might go all out, and jeopardize his health. If he died in office, we'd have President Palin. How frightening is that?

We have all these signs of the Apocalypse, and an important election coming up. Take it as a warning and please vote everybody.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dell is awesome, Microsoft sucks

I recently had some computer drama. Like an idiot, I went to Microsoft to try to fix the problem. I spent 6 and a half hours on tech support chat (thank god I had my work laptop next to me so I could have the two computer thing going) and that didn't fix anything. The guy admitted that it was Microsoft's fault that Service Pack 3 killed my computer, and said he was sorry we weren't able to fix it. He said that they would have their guys work on it for two days, then call me back Monday night at 7 and tell me how to fix my computer.

Well Microsoft is full of shit. I get called at 9pm tonight by a guy who tries to start the whole troubleshooting process with me again, as if I hadn't already gone through it for 6 hours two days ago. I was expecting a guy to tell me how to fix it. Instead I got nothing, just a guy trying to pass the buck to Dell because they hadn't done jack shit to figure out how Service Pack 3 killed my computer. So I politely express my displeasure, get the phone number to call back a manager later if I need to, and hang up the phone. Once I hung up I let out a nice healthy "FUCK YOU" to Microsoft.

Then I called Dell. Within a couple minutes the guy (who could speak perfectly unaccented English) got remote control of my computer, which means you just sit there and watch while some magic person thousands of miles away takes control of your laptop right in front of you and fixes it himself instead of trying to talk you through it. Within 10 minutes of dealing with drivers and whatnot the guy comes to the conclusion that whatever happened killed my video card. Huge bummer right? But no, turns out I'm covered under warranty. They're gonna send a new part to a technician in LA who will come to my office and install the new video card right then and there. And not only that, the guy said "Shh, but I'm going to get you a 512 video card instead of a 256". That's right, not only are they fixing the problem as fast as is humanly possible, they're actually doubling the power of my videocard for FREE.

Dell, I fucking love you. I was wrong to go to the Microfuckers first. I'll never do it again.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Do NOT install Service Pack 3

If you have Windows XP, do NOT install Service Pack 3. Their "helpful" updates just totally fucked my computer like crazy. It won't even boot up correctly now unless I'm in safe mode. And it's not that I'm an idiot English major who doesn't know a thing about computers (I call myself an idiot but I guess compared to John McCain I'm like Bill Gates) because I was on the online tech support chat thing with a Microsoft guy for about 6 and a half hours and the problem still isn't fixed. All he was able to figure out was that the problem was with a driver in my computer that had worked perfectly fine for two years. Why was it broken? Because their stupid service pack updates don't actually help, they just take your perfectly normal computer and fuck it up. They don't care if it breaks your computer, because some people will be ignorant enough about computers to assume that their PC is just broken, so they go buy a new one loaded with Windows Vista.

Microsoft, I've been a very loyal PC guy, but I'm writing this post on a Macbook because you just screwed me. Fuck you. Fix it, now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I hired a maid service for the office, and she turned out to be insanely hot

Our office was starting to get a little dingy and cluttered, so I was given the task of finding a maid service to come by a couple times a month. So I jumped on and typed in "maid" and the first hit there seemed like a pretty legit company, so I got a quote from them and set up service.

The next day when the maid arrived I was out of the office, but my co-worker sent me a frantic message telling me that she was "super-model hot." Apparently he was worried that I'd accidentally hired some kind of "naughty" maid service.

I got to the office and she was still there, and he was right. She was an incredibly beautiful Brazilian woman, and let's just say she wasn't dressed modestly. She wasn't actively trying to be provocative, you just got the sense that she didn't really care that much. I guess Brazil is a pretty liberated place.

Luckily no women work in our office, because we're pretty sure that they would have been offended, even though nothing was intentional. Instead the guys all congratulated me on a job well done.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

This morning in hilarity

This email was forwarded to my tracking board this morning and I found it priceless. I put *** over the names so nobody gets in trouble or fired for this. It's from someone covering another assistant's desk at DreamWorks, so I imagine the person was either a temp or someone who's been licking envelopes in a mail room since she got to town two months ago.

From: C******, P******* - DreamWorks
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 5:09 PM
To: Melissa M****** Assistant
Subject: RE: SWP Mtg. Kristi K****** w/ Kristin N****** and Matthew

Hey Ryan-

I'm sorry, b/c I'm covering for Lindsey's usual asst., could you tell
me, who's Rosh Hashanah and why would he/she affect Kristi's meeting
with KN and MC?

Thanks! I really appreciate it!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Buying wine. And why I suck at it.

There are some subjects on which I can speak with authority. Wine is not one of them.

Neither of my parents are big drinkers, and so we never ordered a lot of wine in restaurants when I was growing up. In college, I was usually drinking beer or really strong badly mixed drinks at parties. On occasions where I did drink wine it was either "red" or "white" and it was almost always Charles Shaw (aka Two Buck Chuck).

I took a bartending course for fun one weekend while I was at school, and the guy teaching the class was a bartender at a Marriot in downtown Boston. He said that after Sideways came out Merlot sales plummeted, but Pinot Noir sales went up about 200%.

I can just imagine some asshole trying to impress his girl at dinner, "Excuse me, garcon, I'd like a bottle of the Pinot Noir for the table. And please, make sure it's from California." It's like someone volunteering to skipper a sailboat because he saw a movie about Christopher Columbus.

So one day I found myself in the liquor store, searching for a bottle of something to bring to a party. All the hard liquor was behind the counter, and the price tags we so small I couldn't read them from a distance (I needed to get a stronger prescription for my glasses at that point, something I'd put off far too long), so rather than ask the guy to take down 20 bottles so I could compare prices, I just browsed in the wine area.

But since I don't know anything about wine, I didn't know which bottles were ripping me off, and which were a good deal. What the hell does Sabanac Valley mean? Does it say on the label what kind of tannins it has? What are tannins? Does Chianti go with a certain kind of food? All I know is that apparently it can go well with a human liver and Fava beans.

I ended up getting a Francis Ford Coppola bottle. I got that one because I figured even if the wine sucks, I'd be hanging out with a bunch of film nerds anyway, so at least it could be a conversation starter.

And yes, it was a pinot noir. I too am an asshole when it comes to wine selection.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Update: Painter girl called me back

I got a call today from a number I didn't recognize. Turns out it was Painter girl from the other night. I'd left a message on her voicemail a few days ago not expecting her to call back.

Turns out she's out of town for the weekend but wants to get together next week when she's back in LA.

For all I know she could be totally nuts and we won't get along, but for now I'm open to the possibility that she's cool. Also helps balance out the sting from getting the brush off from that other girl last night.

Now I just need to get the hell out of the office and enjoy the weekend. It's looking to be a good one.

It's a small hilarious world

That girl who blew me off last weekend prompting my urge to go out in the Hollywood and flirt with chicks who paint scenes from famous movies? Yeah, she gave me the "I need 'me' time" phone call last night.


Oh well. Probably for the best. Had things progressed further I probably would have started to really like her, which would lead to some issues when she leaves town in 2 and a half months. I know for a fact that at this point in my life, I have no desire whatsoever to be in a long distance relationship, no matter how fantastic the girl might be.

And now for an amusing story.

A friend of mine is trying to make it as an actress here in Hollywood (I know, how rare). She was in a music video that had it's premiere party at a venue in Hollywood, and since I was able to walk to it, I figured what the hell and went. I almost didn't, but I'm glad I did.

Before I went to the party I had been exchanging facebook messages with another actress friend of mine (it's almost like it's a common choice of career in this town...). We hadn't seen each other in a few months and wanted to catch up, so we made plans for lunch today.

Well when I get to the music video party, who do I see across the room? My friend the actress I'm meeting later today. I don't see the girl for 3 months, and randomly bump into her about 18 hours before we're supposed to meet up. That's kind of random, and hilarious.

While I was there I also reconnected with another friend who's working as an assistant that I hadn't seen in a really long time.

Hollywood really is a small town, tucked inside a bigger city. Especially in the various circles you frequent. I'm not going to be at the crazy Playboy mansion party throwing back shots with Jeremy Piven, but for events like this thing last night where it's a whole bunch of assistant-level people and struggling actors? We all go to the same parties, especially if we're all East Coast transplants.

The way I think of it is this: It's not just an "East Coast" thing that makes us enjoy each others company. There were plenty of people in Boston I thought were assholes that I wouldn't want to hang out with. I think that instead, there's something similarly broken inside all of us.

We all thought it would be a good idea to move to the other side of the continent away from friends and family to try and make movies even though we all knew that there was a high chance of failure and that we'd likely make very little money. Call it adventurous, call it romantic, call it whatever you want. Really, I think it means we're all a little fucked in the head. But it entertains people, and it's fun being out here. So being a little fucked in the head is okay, just as long as we acknowledge it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why we need to vote this time

It's a well known thing that most of us who weren't alive in the 60's tend to be a pretty politically apathetic group. Every election year new stories come out about how there will be "record breaking young voter turnout", but there never is. Especially in 2004. Personally I think it's because no young people were able to get excited about a Democratic candidate who was another relic from the 60's and had about as much charisma as a piece of wheat toast. Young people didn't really identify with him. It was like when your parents have a dinner party with a bunch of their friends, and while they "discuss" things (otherwise known as repeating themselves and preaching to the choir) you sit there politely and answer questions like, "So what are you majoring in?"

You ever had someone older than you think you're a "hacker" because you know how to look something up on google and can unplug the wireless router if the internet isn't working? Well those are the people who tend to vote the most. They're the ones who decide who the next President is every four years. When politicians are appealing to that group, is it really a surprise that this country is this fucked up now? Is it really a surprise that there's a 50% chance that our next President and VP will be an AARP member who can't check his email and a Christian conservative who thinks creationism should be taught in Biology class?

Obama and McCain are pretty much tied in the polls right now. Personally I think those numbers are going to correct in the coming weeks when people get over the "it girl" factor with Sarah Palin and realize she's in no way qualified to be President. But I think there's another reason the polls might be off.

Most of the time polling is done by calling the homes of registered voters. 95% of the people I know under the age of 30 don't have a home phone, we just use our cell numbers. They don't call us because we're not "likely voters". The likely voters have historically been those older, out of touch people I was describing earlier. A lot of us aren't registered for a political party even if we're fervently supporting Obama this time around.

We simply haven't been factored into the calculations. This is where I think people will be surprised this time. Young voters like Obama. They want to vote for him, oftentimes registering to vote for the first time. And frankly, a lot of us have finally had enough of our grandparents screwing up the country.

We want health care because we're graduating from college and taking entry-level jobs where we get crap pay and no benefits. We want stem cell research because we know that by the time we're in our 40's and 50's it might be the thing that saves our lives. We want politicians to care about issues like net neutrality and the 21st century economy, not just issues like Roe v. Wade that have been around since well before many of us were born. We want Social Security to be a top priority because we're paying for it even though we don't expect to have a chance of getting any of that money back. Our grandparents' generation has no incentive to care about that. It'll last through their lifetimes so the fact that we're all going to be destitute when we're their age is just an abstract problem for them.

So please everyone, vote this time around. This election shouldn't be about people who cling to the Reagan years, or even the Bill Clinton years. We're coming up on the next era of American politics, and it doesn't belong to our grandparents, or even our parents. It belongs to us. We need an overhaul in politics, and that means a President we can get behind, not a geriatric and the love child of the Spanish Inquisition and a Caribou.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

We really are simple creatures.

I went out with a girl last weekend. I'm not sure if there's anything there. We were supposed to hang out again this weekend, but I got the news yesterday that she had a friend in from out of town suddenly, and therefore would be busy. This could either be totally legit, or she could be blowing me off. Since I wasn't sure, I was a little down.

So I called up a friend, went barhopping in Hollywood, and got a phone number from a girl who doesn't work in the movie business (ok, she's a painter who often paints scenes from movies, but that's still as far from industry as you can get in LA).

I feel better now.

I realize that any girls who read this will think that I'm "such a GUY" for this, but hell with it, it's a blog, I can be honest. Knowing you can pick up girls, even if you don't intend on doing anything about it, is great ego-reinforcement for a guy. It's really all we need to feel better, because we are simple, ego-driven creatures.

Friday, September 12, 2008

First post

It has begun. I'm yet another person contributing to the mountains of stuff out there on the internet. I don't really anticipate generating huge readership with this. I don't think I'll even bother telling my friends that I'm doing it. Who knows, maybe that will add some mystique to it.

But hey, here's to becoming part of a community, sharing information in the 21st century. We're already confusing the hell out of John McCain with this stuff, so I guess we're going in the right direction.