Sunday, June 27, 2004

Ugh. In Florida, but still in Hollywood.

Hollywood, Florida.

Smells like summer. Hot, musky, the smell of alligator poo. There's a McDonalds across the street from my hotel, so the aroma of french fries and other tasty greasy treats masks it all. I went outside and was welcomed by the songs of locusts... or what I used to always think were locusts... some sort of orchestra of crickets that comes in siren like waves.

Its a lot different here than in my Hollywood. Everyone here is black. I could care less, but the two guys I'm working with, both pasty white Canadians, seem to have issues. One has a Confedrate flag tattoo on his arm, so he's afraid of taking his shirt of at the beach. The other guy says he's not racist, be he's noticed a lot of "niggers" around.

Something cool about being a minority, especially if you're as white bread as me. It means people notice you in a crowd, and are less apt to bump into you. It means that if someone wants your attention, they can say, "hey, whitey!", and you know who they're talking about - better than that vague, p.c. "hey you".

If you read my postings at the EoA blog, you'll see that I'm even more excited that I'm in the state that gave Bush the win in 2000.

More later with fresh new pics from a yard sale over the weekend, and oh, so much more.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Another review of the new documentary... whats it called?

I posted this over at the amazing new Edge of Allegiance blog, and thought I'd repeat it here:

Before every other blogger piped in and started discussing how wonderful "Fahrenheit 9/11" is, I thought I'd offer the only opinion that matters. That's my own, of course.

For the intelligent, well concerned citizen, there is little new here, nothing eye opening, only more of what we've read about in the news for past four years. All 9/11 really does is boils it all down to a two hour, Reader's Digest condensed version of how Michael Moore saw it all unfold... and does it well.

Its important to acknowledge that this is indeed Michael Moore's view - this isn't objective reporting by any means. Moore is, however, much less indulgent in taking quotes and other elements out of context than he was with Bowling for Columbine. But he still implies such inaccuracies as that the government didn't interview the Bin Laden family before allowing them to leave the country while all other flights were grounded - in reality, almost all family members were questioned before the Saudi exodus.

The film's real strengths lay in its "show don't tell" moments, letting the cameras roll on Bush and others unedited... he has businessman George W. Bush in 1982 saying to an interviewer that one of his great assets is having his father as President, and all he has to do sometimes is call dad to get things rolling. We're not learning anything new here, but see him so blatantly arrogant and proud of this is astounding.

What I find most interesting now are the Michael Moore naysayers. Michael Hitchens has a long, winded piece in Slate called Unfahrenheit 9/11: The Lies of Michael Moore, where he tries to call Moore out on assorted inaccuracies in the film. Ironically, Hitchen's article title itself is inaccurate, as nowhere in the article does he point out a lie that Moore had made. He mostly calls out mild inaccuracies, and perhaps questionable tactics or opinions. Pretty much what every other right wing critic of Moore's is grumbling about. Which again is ironic, because they get so steamed and upset over one filmmaker's assertations and manipulations in a two hour film, but can't seem to recognize it when it comes from our own President and his staff.

And all this, indeed, beside the point, since this is only a movie. Twenty minutes too long, but otherwise an entertaining film.

I'll rant more later about it.

For now, some links for shits and giggles:

Movie Goer Assaulted at Fahrenheit 9/11 Showing

"Michael Moore Hates America" - official movie web site

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Is the grass always greener?

I should write about how annoying my Disneyland trip was today, but I'd just come across as either jaded or spoiled, since Claire and I have the annual pass thing, and we have or don't have jobs that mean we get lots of days off...

Alas, there seems to be drama in the world... and every other blog. So my mediocre whining about having my toes run over all day long by strollers is meaningless in comparison.

Instead, I'll steer you once again to the blogs that make for great reads, due to the detriment of the poor bloggers who open their lives for all to read...

Tony Pierce hasn't gotten laid in two and half weeks. What's to complain? I went almost two years once (I've since been to church to thank God for inventing porn).

Anti is having issues with his father - nothing new, but he's having even bigger issues in the most recent post... I commented that I have similar feelings for my ex-step-father, even though mine didn't use my social security number to commit identity theft and ruin his credit:

i'm still his "son" (notice the quote marks on that little bitch of a word), so why would he hang me out to dry??? that he allegedy "needs" his family at this, this time of urgency in his life... (he)allegedly finds out how to fix things with me (although he knew how the whole time).... what a human turd.
my dad had his last chance to see me a few years ago, and he WILL die without me ever saying good bye or any of that shit, and that's fine with me.
i said good bye a long time ago.

Katzinjammer, recently moved to South Dakota (a few miles from nowhere), is having a perpetual midlife crisis:

The other night someone had asked me if i was alright. I avoided the answer, claiming that i had the liquor speaking for me. But the above sentitments were the buzzing, stinging thoughts, and most times, especially now, i'm just lonely... I'm scared because i'm not getting any younger and my life is still a disaster... I'm shamed by every bit of help i receive to help solve problems i should be more than capable of solving on my own.

And not to pander, but I cheer myself up when I think similar things by realizing that I have people to lean on - and if it takes having to ask for help once in a while to realize this, so be it.

On a lighter note, Shane Nickerson at Nickerblog is upset that Dunkin' Donuts outright denied him the opportunity to open a franchise here in Southern California. I'd post some quotes or a picture, but you need to read his full post to fully appreciate the situation. Click on this link to read the letter they sent him in reply to his request.

Bunny McIntosh writes: I'm going to start auctioning off everything I own, so buy it, or I'll starve to death.

Not that all is bad in the world. Laurenzo Benzo seems to be doing better, and blogging some more. She enjoyed her sister's summary best:

::raises hand above head:: This is where you started at five years ago. You were like, "Yay, everything's good! Life rocks in a really cool way!" Then you went down to, "Oh, man...Things are getting pretty bad." From there you dropped even further to, "Crap, I'm almost dead." Then finally you were like, "AHHHHHHH, I'm practically six feet under! My life is a fiery train wreck and I'm all burnt and on fire and I don't have anything else to lose!!!!!!!" At that point you were all the way down here. ::motions to the ground::
Now things are like right in the middle. I think they're going to keep rising, higher and higher until you're further up than you were even before you got sick.

As for me, the stars are mostly lined up... maybe not the stars I'd prefer, but who am I to complain? Disneyland today, I'n in Florida for the next two weeks on one job, then back in Los Angeles for a month on another. As far as freelancing goes, this is pretty good. Great actually. But stay tuned - I'm sure I'll bitch on a daily basis through it all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Hired again...

Alas, the tour job from hell rears its ugly head again.

One of the tour manager on the gig had a family emergency, and so the COMPANY called me to see if I could manage the event for a couple weeks in Florida.

The gig sucks, but if this will put me in their good graces it'll be worth it.

So, Saturday or Sunday I'm on a plane, being paid over double what I was before (but still far too little), with the title and responsibilities I originally wanted, and I'll be spending the start of my summer, including the Fourth of July and my Birthday, in the Sunshine State.

Dr. Teeth

Yep, I brought my camera phone in with me.After waiting in the lobby for over 45 minutes, the dentist called me in. He introduced himself by deadpanning that he usually preferred to operate without giving the patient any sedatives. I didn't laugh, so he didn't think I got the joke. "I'm kidding!" he said, and I simply nodded.

He wondered why I was nervous.

"I've never had a tooth pulled out of my head."

He dismissed the pain, and said this was easy.

Dr. Feelgood, aka UCLA student dentistFive minutes later I was crying for my mom as he stuck a needle deep into one of my gums. I swear it made a short cut to my urethra, and I don't mean this don't sound pleasant.

Five minutes after that, he said I was going to feel some pressure, and to count to a hundred three time.

I counted to twenty, and he pronounced he was done.

Now, nearly three hours later, the left side of my face is still numb. I've taken the advice of Anti and loaded myself up with Advil gel-caps. Claire took me to the grocery store and we loaded up on yogurt and oatmeal... stuff I can eat without chewing for the next couple days. Then when we got home, Claire cooked herself a steak - torture, because last night she made the second greatest steak I've ever eaten (she made the first best steak ever - a bacon wrapped filet).

All I can do now is wait for the numbness to go away and pray the gel-caps take over.

Tomorrow, I'm going to Disneyland.

Find Sparky

Michael Oosterom, who plays George W in "The Edge of Allegiance", sent this in:

Can you find Sparky in this photo from the Freeway Blogger website?

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Edge of Allegiance

Tomorrow I finally go in for my long delayed tooth extraction. Which is great, since my tooth has been hurting again, bad enough last night to keep me up for hours.

This made me rush to finish my still unfinished web site for the play my girl Claire is producing. You'll see its still a little unfinished. But, for the most part I'm pretty happy with it. The logo and postcard that you see on the main page were designed by Leesa Beck, one of the cast members and producer. Everything is all me with help from Dreamweaver, Image Composer, and Image Ready...

The Edge of Allegiance web site

The show is a musical/comedy/play about Bush and current events. They claim to be unpartisan, but for a radical centrist like me, its pretty damn liberal. Still, the script is very funny, and has some awesomely clever moments. More on this later. For now, enjoy the site, which features my new blog made especially for the show.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Happy Father's Day

My Dad and I at Graceland, thankyouverymuch...I know one of the cardinal rules of blogging is to not tell your parents to read your blog, but when I started this I was young and innocent... well, maybe just dumb. But one of my ten loyal readers has remained my dad. And so, since its Father's Day its only fitting that I write a post in his honor (besides, my birthday is in less than a month, and this might make for a good buttering up).

One of my earliest memories of my dad is him getting down on one knee, making him eye level with me, to tie my shoe when he came to attend a school function at St. Charles Elementary in Toledo, Ohio. I think I was in first grade for the second time, and the day was an annual "carnival and white elephant sale" they held in the basement/cafeteria. While I think my class was only down for thirty minutes, I remember being the only kid who's dad came to visit, and I was even more excited because he originally wasn't sure if he'd be able to come, since he was working at the fire department. Small stuff, a tiny memory, but a good one none the less. I may have actually been more impressed at the time that he knew how to tie a shoe, because that was something I could never figure out.

James Eugene MarklandMy favorite vacation ever was spent a couple years ago with him as we drove for ten days from Toledo, down through the south, and back again, while researching the Sultana disaster. Along the way I realized how similar we were, in no small part to the fact that I've often subconciously tried to be more like him as I've grown up... even though we lived states apart for most of my life.

One of the biggest similarities is our dilettantishness... in all the good senses of the word. I think we both buy far many more books than we end up reading, and we're both self taught computer geeks... although he's into Macs... sigh, perhaps he'll come around.

I still aspire to be as great a storyteller as he is, and maybe this blogging is my practice.

Among the things I like to boast about my dad is that he retired as a Captain with the Toledo Fire Department, and was a paramedic also. He's a "born again" Roman Catholic but still enjoys dirty jokes. He's an expert with defribulators... or at least pronouncing the word. He's a damn fine photographer (as long as you're not watching his slide shows). And he's got one of the kindest hearts you'll ever find... most importantly, to me anyway, is that he's always been the most optimistic person I have ever met. (I think he's one of those guys who takes the 'ol crocheted wisdom to heart, "I aspire to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am")

And finally, I'll break another cardinal sin, and profess that I love and am proud of my dad, with or without the ponytail (did I fail to mention he has a pony tail? yep, he has the balls to wear a pony tail).

Happy Father's Day, Dad!



Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11... whats that in Celsius?

I'd say I hate getting all political, but the reality is I love being political. The problem is, I always tend to disagree with everyone. And not because I'm a flaming liberal, or even a right wing fanatic, but instead a radical centrist.

I bring this up because I'm getting itchy waiting for the new Michael Moore film, "Fahrenheit 9/11". Indeed, Moore is about as left as you can get, almost goofy. But a genius filmmaker. I loved his last film, "Bowling for Columbine", even though I disagreed with some oh his tactics and views. And as big as a fan I am of his, its hard for me to totally disagree with the view of Aint-It-Cool-News contributor Moriarty who described Michael Moore as "a shameless carnival barker."

Moriarty continued, "He’s a rabble rouser with an agenda and a bullhorn, and even if I think he occasionally has an interesting idea or makes a point with a certain sledgehammer wit, I also think he undermines himself and buries those good ideas under a mountain of self-congratulatory horseshit that keeps me at a distance as a viewer."

I was most offended when Moore turned his Academy Award win for "Bowling for Columbine" into a bleeding heart anti-war, anti-Bush rant that totally alienated any potential new viewers his movie would have gained from the Oscar attention.

Which isn't to say I disagreed with what he had to say. And so I look forward to "9/11".

Ironically, the last film I looked forward to with this much excitement was "The Passion of the Christ" - ironic in that it was the left wingers who were bashing and protesting the film before it came out. To the chagrin of my parents, I don't believe in the fantastical elements of the story of Christ, but I did really enjoy and appreciate the film.

What bothers me most with our current enviornment is that people will judge each other on which of these two films they go to see, "The Passion" or "Fahrenheit." Then again, I've always been a sucker for anything people have wanted to ban.

Now I'm going to browse for some illicit porn.


So, after cleaning out our litter pan, and then feeding two of our neighbor's cats and their litter pans, I headed down to Starbucks to work on a website for Claire's new play.

I hear helicopters overhead, and as I walk down LaBrea towards Hollywood I see that traffic is being stopped by a cadre of police and oddly uniformed personnell... Olympics detail. For the second time in my life, I'm going to see the Olympic torch pass by.

The first time was as a student of Mile Creek School in Old Lyme, CT. An impromptu school trip, that I don't think my parents signed a permission slip for. We hopped on busses to drive a whole mile to the parking lot of the local watering hole/driving range "Cherrystones", and watched as some chump ran by holding the torch up high. To be honest, at the time I could have cared less. I could do the same thing in my back yard.

Then, less than an hour ago, I'm waiting on the corner of La Brea and Highland with my cruddy digital camera, knowing that'll make for a half decent blog entry.

Up ahead, I see a caravan approaching - a truck in front blocking my view of the torch bearer. As it makes a right turn onto Hollywood, and the motorcycle cops bear way for me to get a picture, I see that its not just any Olympic torch bearer, but Ellen Degeneres!

And let me say, Ellen and I go wayyyyy back.

My first job with MTV Networks was on an award show called VH-1 Honors. My gig was to man the VIP and delivery entrance, and I had strict orders not to let anyone in who's name wasn't on the clipboard I held. A lot of people drove up insisting they belonged inside the gates - many kidded they were network execs. So, when a convertible pulled up with a woman at the wheel, I was anxious just to give me a name, or park in the structured lot like most everyone else.

"Hey, can I have your name?"

The woman at the wheel, a stranger to me, smiled back. "I'm the host!" she said, proudly.

"Ha, ha. I get that all day. Really, whats your name?"

"I'm - uh - the host. Really."

At this point I hear shouting from behind me. "David! David! Let her in!!!" I turn to see its one of the network v.p.'s.

I look down at the clipboard. I see next to the word "host" is the name "Ellen Degeneres".

"Ellen?" I say meekly to the driver. "Go ahead."

In all fairness, since I'd moved to L.A. I hadn't watched much TV, so I still didn't know who she was.

"David," she said before pulling in. "You're doing a great job!" And gave me a thumbs up, laughing as she drove to park.

Anyway, sorry my pic blows... this close up is from the LA Times:

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Before anyone starts thinking that I'm PLANNING on dying, I thought I'd offer this post to state that death is far from my mind. Besides, what is there to prepare for, really?

I've discovered that my secret to staying happy is always having some sort of plans on the horizon - anything to look forward to. For the past few years it was the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy... now that that's over I need to start making my own plans.

This year there's the X Games. Its work, but I like to think of it as fun, to be involved in a huge project that has such a tremendous turn out. But after my wrap day of August 9th, what next? I get the feeling that my last job experience may not result in more work - such an awkward position for both sides. So, I need to start looking again... maybe it'll take another 50 resumes before I get the interview...

So, I thought I'd present a couple different ideas that occasionally cross my mind, and get some feedback from my ten loyal readers with a poll.

Option #1: Join the National Guard
This is my secret fantasy. Four months of training, one weekend a month, two weeks a year. God knows I have the time. I love disasters, and it seems thats when the Guard is always called up. Instead of watching disaster coverage on TV, I can be in the field taking care of it. Ironically, the last reason on my mind to join would be for the combat and war experience... but it isn't an idea I shy from. And, bottom line, the experiences would likely make for some great offline adventures.

Option #2: Make a goddamned short film already
I've been in Los Angeles now for almost eleven years and have yet to direct a short film or write a screenplay. What's my problem? I don't have a shortage of ideas or resources... really, I have no excuse. Its all about getting off my ass and putting out the effort.

Option #3: Apply for the DGA trainee program
Huh, what the hell is that? Its the Directors Guild's program that trains you to be a professional assistant director, or A.D. for short. The A.D. is essentially the sargeant on any film set who yells alot to make sure the shooting process is moving smoothly. They're also largely responsible for scheduling the film. I've done this before as a non-professional and not only enjoyed it, but thought I did a good job. The program starts you off as a Second Second Assistant Director (in Canada and Europe they call it the Third Assistant Director), and after working a number of films and graduating from the program you'll eventually become the Second Assistant Director, and after another lengthy process, and earn enough union hours, can become a First A.D. You gain a lot of experience, knowledge, and contacts through the process... and the typical dream for any A.D. is to become a production manager or line producer, another job I've also held before, but not for a major feature film.

Option #4: Quit Los Angeles altogether and move back to Toledo or Connecticut and get a lame job
This is my red herring of the bunch, but thought I'd toss it in the mix anyway.

Option #5: Keep on slacking, its the American way
Plans? I don't need to stinking plans! I'll just continue to see what comes my way...

Monday, June 14, 2004


Between the death of Ronald Reagan and Ray Charles, and the season premiere of "Six Feet Under", I thought it might be appropriate, however morose, to outline my final wishes for my ten faithful readers.

By the looks of it, you would have thought Reagan was still alive and had been killed while singlehandledly destroying Al Qaeda with one arm tied behind his back. As a former president who served two full terms and whose face came to symbolize the greatness of America all over the world, he deserved nothing else. But the only lesson that I'd one applied to my own ceremony that Reagan's funeral has taught us, is that the funeral should be a celebration of life. (All of the partisan bigots on both sides who used his passing as an opportunity to spell out their politics deserve to be stuck with the rest of the drunken white trash who argue over the will.) That means, nobody dresses in black unless they're trying to look like a Blues Brother.

Just like Reagan, I want my ceremony to be held at dusk. Not only is the light beautiful and peaceful at that hour, but it also will give everyone a chance to sleep in that day.

On Six Feet Under, Nate Fisher (Peter Krause) secretly follows his deceased wife's wishes and buried her, sans emblaming fluid, out in the middle of nowhere. I'm not quite that earthy, and the amount of Starbucks and McDonalds I imbibe have probably already begun the embalming process, but I don't think a normal burial would be appropriate either.

In short, donate my body to science. Ideally, an all girls medical school. Just in case my soul doesn't leave my body right after I expire...

A headstone would be neat at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary (Jayne Mansfield and her decapitated head aren't buried there either), to be buried alongside the other ghosts of the silver screen.

Finally, please greatly exaggerate the circumstances of my death. Death by heart attack or bus or allergic reaction to bad chinese isn't the stuff legends are made of - so make something up. Something tragic, something cool, something ghost stories are made of. And every year, on the anniversary of my death, please be sure to have a seance or attempt to reach me via Ouija board so, ideally, I can scare the crap out of everyone.

Friday, June 11, 2004


As it turned out, the tour manager I was working for was the source of all the drama.

Quite simply, while he'd been telling my my rate was X amount, and that I'd be paid X for per diem, and that I'd get my own room, and that I was also hired through next week, and that he'd been trying to get me promoted to tour manager after next week...

Every one of those things was a total lie. After word that I was about to walk off the tour made it to the company head, he gave me a call to find out what was going on. Talking to him, and others over the next couple days, I discovered that:

-The room situation was never discussed with them.
-That the tour manager had told them all along that I was unavailable next week.
-The tour manager never once suggested me to be promoted... in fact, he'd told them I was unavailable.

So, I got my own room, but now I don't have work next week. I'm not that disappointed, but the circumstances suck: I took this gig for little money, and at a lower level than I've had in years so that I could have an in with the company... and then I learn that the guy I'm supposed to be impressing is a compulsive liar.

On the bright side, the day after I wrote the past post, the tour manager was pulled off the tour, so I don't have the opportunity to have fist fight.

And as the last couple days have passed, the event team has assembled a long list of other huge lies this guy had told...

But, best of all, and the only thing that matters, is that through it all I had the full teams support. When I put my foo down about the room situation, a couple guys told me I was doing the right thing. Having my own room wasn't the point, it was merely the principle... and once I called foul on that, it caused a chain reaction, uncovering the source of every gripe I had with the job from the beginning...

Definitely a life experience - I gambled and it paid off. I was seriously less than an hour away from boarding a train before I ended up getting a call from the "top dog", who let me know that they were never on the loop on any of the drama until shortly before his call, and that he wasn't totally surprised because of other problems coming from the same direction.

Indeed, its much more complicated, and in some way, sillier that what I can put into a few paragraphs. But, for my ten loyal readers, hopefully its enough...

So, now I'm psyched that instead of trekking up to San Jose tomorrow night, I'm going home to see Claire. My Saturday and Sunday will be spent sleeping in... and so will my Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday... no, wait, on one of those days we'll be going to Disneyland.

Life is balanced again. Until mid July when I start work with ESPN for a month, I'll be unemployed again.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Ugh... the waiting...

A quick posting from Starbucks in San Diego. I'm with the tour managers of my new gig. I was promised per diem and my own hotel room... when we got to San Diego, they told me I'd have to share a room, and had half the per diem that was mentioned. I told them I was leaving... so as we sit here, they're waiting for word on whether to re-approve what was originally promised me, or on my the next train back to Los Angeles.

Properly, I got a call today asking me to interview for another gig in Los Angeles for the recently merged G4TechTV...

Regardless... I should know in the next few minutes if I'll be on the road for the next month, or back in L.A., sleeping in and blogging more regularly...

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Another great time killer...

Just found this, courtesy of the Stupid Evil Bastard's blog:

Make Your Own Paper Arcade

Finally – relive those early-to-mid ‘80s arcade glory days without the hassle of paying for stuff or having to learn how the machines work so you can keep fixing them or negotiating with strange, staring men at frightening auctions.

With a color printer, scissors, and some glue, you can make paper cut-out versions of some excellent video games from the early 80s, including Pac-Man, Defender, and Tempest. Excellent, eh? Just a little disappointed they don't have a template for "Frogger", so you can push it through Matchbox car induced traffic with your Kramer doll.