Thursday, April 29, 2004

Terrorists and Mountain Lions on the loose in Los Angeles!

An earthquake is predicted in the near future, a guy with grenades was arrested a few blocks away, and now these two news items from today:

LAPD Receives Threat Against West LA Mall

The Los Angeles Police Department issued a threat advisory after federal officials received an unsubstantiated potential threat of an attack against an unspecified West Los Angeles shopping mall Thursday.

Additional patrols will be put on the streets and shopping mall operators are being asked to enhance the level of security, according to a department statement.

Federal officials received the threat indicating an attack would take place at a shopping mall near the Westwood Federal Building. No specific mall was named. The credibility of the source is unknown, and the information has not been corroborated.

Great. I'm having my third interview only a block away from the Federal Bldg. at 4pm for the COMPANY that I've been trying to work with for months. If some fucking terrorist shuts down the city, I'll be so mad I may have to enlist.

Mountain Lion Reports, Griffith Park Area

Los Angeles officials say they are going to post warning signs in Griffith Park after several reports of mountain lion sightings.

A parks department spokeswoman says a park ranger, a city public works superintendent and several equestrians all reported seeing the mountain lion in a northwest section of the park.

All the news stations are giving tips on what to do to avoid getting attacked by a mountain lion. They don't, surprisingly, advise skipping the park and instead heading for a local mall.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Up the River

Finally, what I've spent the past couple days on... between lunch, browsing blogs, and sleep.

First is the image I was given to work with, art work by Native American artist Michael Horse. A lot of his work, like this one, are paintings of Indians using vintage "paperwork", like sheet music, land sales contracts, marriage licenses, and more. Fun stuff, to say the least - this is why I'm not an art critic.

Rene is trying to produce a comedy about Native American's, and received Michael's blessing to not only use his work, but distort it at will.

And thats where I come in. Using an antiquated Microsoft program called Image Composer, additional art work by the artist, and some cool new fonts I found on the web, below is what I came up with. There's a number of changes I'd prefer to be made, but there were things Rene wanted... I'm still pretty happy with the end result.

Besides the new text, and erasing all the old text, more subtle changes include giving the horse an eye, changing the American flag into a British one, giving the man the Monty Python treatment (dropping his jaw and giving him some teeth), and bringing some color out of the painted Indian. I'm sure that had I been using Photoshop... which I have, but have no idea how to use... I could have finished it in half the time, and made it look twice as good.


Two things I've noticed lately.

The first, there's a banner outside of the McDonalds at La Brea and Santa Monica advertising, in big letters, for their Fruit and Walnut Salad. In tiny letters underneath it reads: warning, contains nuts.

More foreboding are the words on the new box of Arm and Hammer Kitty Litter.

"Safe to use around pets."

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


I spent all day working on the poster I'd hoped to post... but, it still needs tweaking. However, I did swap out my picture of Astronaut John Glenn with patriot Pat Tillman. The intent, by the way, is to swap out the pic every week or so with another real life adventurer.

I'm not much of a sports fan, but I do remember reading about Tillman turning down a $3.5 million dollar NFL football contract to enlist with the army shortly after 9/11. And he shied away from media attention. This made him an immediate hero. He was the only soldier fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq that I knew by name... so when I heard he was killed a few days ago in Afghanistan, it reminded me of the real risk every soldier is in, by choice.

The only real regret I've ever had in life has been not enlisting for a few years with the military. I have a healthy disregard of authority, but also feel a deep loyalty to the country. Selfishly, a bigger reason I wish I'd been in the service would have been for the experience and the adventure. With my bad eyesight and asthma I likely would have been assigned to a recruiting office, if accepted at all... and likely would have gone AWOL just so I could sleep in instead of going to a desk job. So, perhaps, my real life has been more exciting than it would have been in the military, short of the likely dishonorable discharge.

Blog-Tracking May Gain Ground Among U.S. Intelligence Officials

Article from Yahoo! news...

...some analysts say U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials might be starting to track blogs for important bits of information. This interest is a sign of how far Web media such as blogs have come in reshaping the data-collection habits of intelligence professionals and others, even with the knowledge that the accuracy of what's reported in some blogs is questionable.

Still, a panel of folks who work in the U.S. intelligence field - some of them spies or former spies - discussed this month at a conference in Washington the idea of tracking blogs...

Monday, April 26, 2004

Dry Heat

Los Angeles is hot, hot, hot today. A dry heat that isn't as bad as the humidity of the mid-west, so definitely more bearable. Still people in L.A. complain about it endlessly. At least for the first few days when these heat waves hit, it seems to slow life down a bit. If you're in traffic, not a good thing. But everywhere else, even a Monday feels like a lazy Sunday.

I spent my day at the casting office, manning the fort. Renee, the casting director, and Jeff have been out scouting for a Pocahontas at a pow-wow in New Mexico. The office has a horrible air conditioning system, so I made an effort not to move much. Most of my day was spent trying to figure out places to send notice of an open casting call they'll be having in New York on Saturday... the trick is to concentrate it where the most Native Americans would see it. I blitzed the offices for every reservation in the tri-state area I could find. But then I hit a brick wall. I called the new Museum of Native American Studies in New York, and ended up talking to the curator of the film and video wing. Everyone she suggested I talk to Renee was already friends with, or had approached. And every actor or actress she suggested seemed to have been discovered by Renee. Either this means there really aren't a lot of Native American actors out there, or Renee knows everyone. Maybe a little of both. Anyway, if anyone knows of any Native American actresses between 16 and 25 who would like to be opposite Colin Farrell in a huge new movie from New Line, the folks who brought you "Lord of the Rings", directed by Terrence Mallick, lemme know.

Part of my day was reserved for making a one sheet/teaser poster for a small film Renee is trying to put together. I'm obsessive when it comes to creative projects, so I'll likely be up late tonight working on it, and never bill her for the extra hours. I'll post the results later.

I'm also spending some time developing a new, political based blog. I'm still trying to figure out the focus of it, but know it has something to do with cutting through all the bullshit issues both Kerry and Bush are trying to distract us with so readers can vote this November based on what counts... or something like that. Alas, I'm trying to recruit a few guest bloggers from both ends of the polictical spectrum. I'm looking for people who aren't so on the party bandwagons that they can't be objective, which is incredibly hard to find. So, if anyone out there is interested, contact me. Mainly, the "guest" bloggers would just need to post a few articles or opinions every week, with some light editorial focus.

Enough for now. Next post will have pictures.

L.A. Times Festival of Books, Day 2

After realizing how long it took to type the Day 1 synopsis up, links, pics, and all, I've decided to keep this one briefer. Besides, the panel that I'd go most into detail into is being rerun on C-Span.

The author/speaker who most struck me today was Michael Ignatieff, who I'd like to formally endorse as President of the United States based only on listening to what he said today. In a panel with very sharp opinions of the war ("Iraq One Year Later: Wrong to Get In? Right to Get Out?"), his seemed to match mine, and, I believe, would be that of most of the mainstream public if the proliferation of TV news hasn't required people to be so black and white.

He was for the war, mostly due to his up close view of the terror and destruction Sadaam had brought upon the Kurds in Northern Iraq in the early 90s. He made it clear that upon a return visit last year, they were a dramatically more prosperous people, citing new roads and hospitals having been built, as well as the general atmosphere. He also defended the concept of a pre-emptive war. But what he was viciously critical of was the Bush administration immense exaggeration of the evidence of the threat Sadaam posed in order to gain public support, and, in short, abusing the very thing he promised to bring to Iraq: democracy. He hammered the Bush administration relentlessly, mostly on their lack of a thorough plan for "post-war" Iraq. He said Nader, on the other hand, had a plan: "Pull out of Iraq, and let George Bush win the election." He said he had even less nice things to say about Kerry. It was refreshing to hear someone so pro-democracy also not adding an endorsement to the list.

His book, by the way, is The Lesser Evil : Political Ethics in an Age of Terror, and not out until May 1st... so maybe I'll earn enough to splurge on it by then.

Between panels, I munched down a Wetzel's bagel dog - a hot dog with a bagel acting as a sort of bun - kind of like a corn dog - but - uh, no wonder I'm packing on the pounds. I also swung by the Kids area to say hi to Tim Egan, the guy who did the art for my Christmas CD compilation, who was signing copies of his new book Serious Farm.

I missed being able to see three authors so I could see a panel on the future of dissent with Arianna Huffington, who was there to plug her new book Fanatics and Fools: The Game Plan for Winning Back America. I voted for Arianna in our recall election, mostly because I think she's hot... especially for a woman in her mid-50s (maybe its that Greek accent). I also hoped they'd discuss blogging, which they did. But, the panel ended up being too much fluff - nothing new, no great, fresh ideas. Half the panel seemed worried that dissent, criticism of the government, was on the decline as Ashcroft publicly called for people not to challenge the administration in the build up to the Iraq war. They also repeated an opinion I'd heard all weekend, that embedding reporters was a disservice to the press, since journalists can't be objective while they're relying on the subjects to keep them alive. And in the end, it seemed like everyone was in agreement that the internet and the large number of bloggers out there were keeping dissent alive and kicking. Best quote of the day came from Katrina vanden Heuvel who said, "The only thing this administration has to fear is the end of fear itself," echoing another repeated opinion from the weekend, and that I've been saying all along, that if Bush wins, it will be because people are voting out of fear.

Of course, while walking between seminars, people watching, standing in lines, and browsing the vendor booths, I had all sorts of killer ideas and observations to post... but, they're lost on my tired mind. Maybe if I trained myself to keep a pen and paper with me...

Sunday, April 25, 2004

L.A. Times Festival of Books

I was originally going to post my two days at the Festival at the end of each evening. Unfortunately, before finishing last night the idea of watching TV won out. Ironically, I fell asleep with the C-Span coverage of the Festival on. Here's Day One - Day Two should be posted in a few hours...

L.A. Times Festival of Books - Day One

As stated before, i was most excited to see the Festival panel called "Down and Dirty: Breaking the Bad News", based on the title. Moderator/author Mark Bowden, who write Black Hawk Down opened by commenting that he had no idea what that meant, or what the panel was supposed to focus on. So, he just had everyone discuss their books. Fortunately, the other panelists/authors were interesting enough to make the hour more than worthwhile.

Donna Rosenthal was the only writer who didn't have a book about war - her's, The Israelis : Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land, dispels many myths and stereotypes of your average Israeli, pointing out that the richest people in their country are Christian, and that the most popular Israeli name is Mohammad.

David Zucchino was an embedded reporter who accompanied the armored brigades that led the first, brutal assaults into Baghdad, that he recounts in Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad.

Finally, George Crile, also a producer for "60 Minutes", gave his analysis about how America created the monster that we now call terrorism as an active result of "winning" the Cold War. I believe he goes more into depth on this in his book Charlie Wilson's War : The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, but it goes something like this: the unbeatable Russian army was finally defeated in their war with Afghanistan, due in no small part to our assistance, training, and arming of the many radical Afghan tribes. But after the war, we left, leaving the Afghans with not just the guns and the training, but the mentality that it was all about force and defeating the enemy, whereas we should have made an effort to leave behind a couple hospitals, rebuild some schools, maybe some factories.

The next panel I went to was a little more "whimsical". Called "Creative Non-Fiction: How I Got the Story", it featured authors with recent books on subjects as varied as the history of penicillin (Eric Lax's The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat ) and another on American sub-cultures (Hampton Side's Americana : Dispatches from the New Frontier).

The two author's who's books I wanted to buy immediately after hearing them speak were Carlo Rotella and Martin J. Smith. Carlo is an English professor, and looks like one - skinny, glasses, a little geeky - but writes about boxing. He doesn't look like th kind of guy who spends a lot of time hanging out at gyms, talking to boxers and trainers across the country, about a sport that involves beating the crap out of one another. I've never been a big boxing fan, but his giddiness in describing some of the trainers and boxers made me put his newest book, Cut Time : An Education at the Fights on my Amazon wish list.

Martin's book Poplorica : A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore that Shaped Modern America contains over twenty pieces on little thought of events, gadgets, or people who have a tremendous effect on the way we live our lives today. The story he shared was about the history of the lawn... yeah, the one you mow... and how it was a bestselling book from 1870 called The Art of Beautifying Suburban Home Grounds of Small Extent that made framing your house with a patch of grass a social necessity. Other topics include how the air conditioner was in no small way responsible for Ronald Reagan's presidency, and the history of the TV dinner. He said that his publicists were pitching the book as "Bathroom reading for the NPR crowd".

I had tickets to a third panel, the title of which already escapes me, but I decided to take a break to walk down to the flower shop to say hi, and to get a burger for lunch.

When I returned to the Festival, I was welcomely surprised to see that William Gibson was speaking just before Karen Hughes. I've never read Gibson, but know that he is credited as being the guy who coined the term "cyberpunk" and is considered a futurist, a claim he denied more than once during my short time listening to him speak. Hughes was fun to listen to, but read too much from her book, and as good of a speaker she is when it came to politics and the Bush adminsitration, it was hard to forget that she is still on the White House payroll.

Claire asked me if I was inspired by the day... which made me a little cranky, because the answer was no. Instead, it made me realize how much work writing really is. Blogging alone is hard - imagine having to keep to a single subject, having a particular goal, trying to make a point. Suddenly, there's so much more to think about and - well - I'm not very good past a first draft yet. Usually the moment I share a story idea with somebody I lose the passion to write it... and I rarely have the patience not to tell. Even this single blog was a challenge, to complete most of my thoughts. I've even skipped ahead of a number of key paragraphs to write this last paragraph first.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Lit at Both Ends

If my great great grandfather and her great great grandfather hadn't died horrible deaths Kari Newhouse and I never would have met.

Artist's rendering of the Sultana disaster.The date was April 27, 1865... 2 am in the morning. My great, great grandfather was a Union guard on board the Sultana - a sidewheel steamboat that was heading north on the Mississippi. The ship was overcrowded with over 2,000 passengers, mostly soldiers who had recently been released from grueling Southern prison camps like Andersonville and Cahaba. One of these ex-POWs was Kari's great, great grandfather. I imagine both were sleeping, dreaming of home, when one of the ship's boilers exploded in a fireball that tore the ship in two. Scores of sleeping soldiers were blown to bits, or catapulted through the air. Those that survived found themselves in the unrelenting current of the swollen Mississippi River. The ship, made of lightweight wood and heavy iron, was a floating, flaming casket. Most of the soldiers couldn't swim, and there was barely a lifeboat aboard. Most had to choose between jumping into the icy river and drowning, or burning to death. By dawn over 1500 men were dead or unaccounted for. It remains the greatest maritime disaster in American history.

I first met Kari's mom, Pam Newhouse, at an annual reunion of descendants of the Sultana disaster five years ago in Knoxville, TN. She was known as one of the experts on the tragedy, and I'd been buttering her up a little because I was researching the Sultana as a film project (and work on still today). When Pam heard I worked occasionally for MTV, she told me her daughter was a musician and that she'd get me a CD. I explained that I really couldn't do much... MTV just airs videos, it doesn't make them... and barely airs videos at that... but mostly said this because I expected that her daughter's demo would suck. Alas, I was blown away by what I heard - some great rock/alternative tunes... really, really good music. I was an instant fan. Months later, Pam tells me Kari is moving to L.A... and it turns out that she's only moving a few blocks from my apartment in West Los Angeles.

We finally meet in July 2000, and make an instant bond. We get a along great. I haven't had a girlfriend for years, and hope that it turns into something bigger... but - I feel no spark. Bummer. But, awesome friend. One night when we're hanging out at her apartment - she's drinking an Amstel Light, I've got a Coke - she comments how amazing it is that almost 150 years ago our grandfather's were on a boat together... and now here we were.

Anyway, I helped Kari find some work, and book a few shows around town. She introduced me to Claire.

Tonight I got to introduce Kari Newhouse and band as they performed for the record release party of her new CD, "Lit at Both Ends". Kari always sounds great... tonight was better than ever. She even gave away customized lighters as a promo item. Neat stuff.

Anyway... check out her site, listen to a few tunes, and order her album. Awesome stuff. And when she grabs a Grammy, you can say you heard it here first.

And it all started with our great grandfather's agonizing deaths.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Yet another lame-ass post

What a non-week. A few false alarms on jobs, too many set backs financially, and now... its Friday. So, on the bright side, I have the FREE L.A. Times Festival of Books to entertain myself with over the weekend.

Tonite is my friend Kari Newhouse's record release party for her new album "Lit at Both Ends". I'll write more about the event, and how I know Kari, on Monday... but she called and asked if I'd emcee the event. I don't know quite what this means, at least for a record release party. But, she said show up a little early and she'd give me the script. So, its an honor.

A few random notes and thoughts...

Joey Santiago and Black Francis (aka Frank Black) of the Pixies)Since I'm broke, and no job lined up until X Games for the summer, there's no way I can justify going to Coachella to see the Pixies play. Just found out today that it sold out, so its too late should my fate change drastically in the coming days. Which is fine, in a way, since the idea of all those crowds of sweaty, muddy people gives me the shivers. Alas, the money will be better spent on getting my wisdom tooth removed so I can stop shoveling aspirin into my mouth.

If people don't leave comments, I don't know if you're reading the blog. I may not respond, but please, just click on the comment button and say hi.

And, really, thats it for now. I need to re-set up my phone so i can send photos here instead of just stealing pics from other sites.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Another dull post

I'm a little disappointed in the vicodin. It's just about 2am and only now have I started to feel drowsy, and think it has more to do with the time than the medication. I even drank two glasses of wine... one glass usually puts me to sleep.

Tomorrow I have to pick up my tickets for some of the panels at this weekend's Festival of Books. As to be expected, most of the speakers and subjects I want to check out are at the same time Saturday morning. More importantly, I have noticed that I have no interest in any of the entertainment industry oriented talks... am I burnt out on Hollywood? The panel I'm most looking forward to is called "Down and Dirty: Breaking the Bad News", being moderated by Mark Bowden who wrote "Black Hawk Down", about how journalists and the media cover tragic events of all nature. I now have to choose between a talk with Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen or a panel of nonfiction writers called "How I Got the Story"... I'm leaning toward the latter.

Time for sleep.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


My tooth hurts.

As if the tax thing wasn't enough, I think I'm having an issue with a wisdom tooth or something... way back behind my molars is this screwed up tooth that I've never given much thought to. Now its hard to think of anything but.

I imagine most people out there went to the dentist twice a year when they grew up. Not me. I can't remember the last time I went. I must have been fourteen... maybe younger. This isn't the sort of thing you complain to your mom about - that maybe you need to go to the dentist more often.

Anyway, called UCLA since I heard they had dentists in training willing to prod inside my mouth for the experience - sounds pleasant. Not free, but a lot cheaper than a normal, experienced, licensed dentist. But when you lack health insurance...

Tonite I plan on popping a codeine and going to see Kill Bill Vol. 2 with my friend Scot. I'll avoid Milk Duds and Juji-Fruits.

New design!

Instead of writing, I've spent the past two days redesigning the blog. Still needs some tweaks, but I like it enough. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Fire in the Hole

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I liked L.A. because this is where "the shit" often happens.

Case in point, the following incident occured last Friday three blocks from my apartment:

Scores Are Evacuated After Grenades Found in Apartment

The discovery of four World War II-era grenades in an apartment north of Hollywood's Kodak Theatre prompted authorities to evacuate scores of residents Friday before bomb-disposal crews blew up the devices in a back alley.

Officers said they found the grenades after deputies attempted to serve an eviction notice on a resident in the 1700 block of Orchid Avenue.

Los Angeles Police Department bomb-disposal crews declined to say whether the "pineapple"-type renades were still active, but they said they saw traces of "active powder" on the devices. The grenades were blown up in a pit dug in the alleyway...

My spanking new camera phone died a couple days ago, a discovery made as I was trying to post some neat pics from the Armand Hammer museum event Friday night. Beyond the coolness of the photos, there was nothing else over the weekend to write about, besides playing "Taboo" for hours on end last night. I was the only sober one, so, of course, I won. Abstinence has its rewards.

This coming week should be busy, fun, and hopefully worth blogging about. Its "Employee Appreciation Week" - in other words, Secretary Day redesigned so as not to offend "administrative assistants", and to cover their bosses' asses by giving them a few days slack in case they forget about the actual day. I'll be working at the flower shop, so as to pay for my taxes. Sometime this week I'll check out "Kill Bill Vol. 2"... Tuesday I'm supposed to confirm whether or not I get a swell gig as a tour manager for May and June... Friday night my friend Kari Newhouse is her record release party at Molly Malone's... and next weekend is the LA Times Festival of Books. I barely read anything but internet news, blogs, and magazines nowadays, but I still love to be around books.

Ian McShane as the most vile villain to ever hit television.For the near future, I've been looking forward all week to tonight's episode of "Deadwood", perhaps the best television series EVER. I've never been able to get into "The Sopranos", but loved "Six Feet Under"... this show beats 'em both.

Friday, April 16, 2004

My friend Josh passed this along to me, what he calls "the greatest trailer ever" for a Japanese film called "Casshern". Not a word in English - but it looks amazing:

"CASSHERN" Trailer page


This is the first time in my life that I've owed taxes, and not a small amount. Which is sort of fine - I'm broke and jobless, and so I can't pay them. So I signed up for a payment plan with the IRS, but didn't send it with the $25 application fee - cause I barely have that - so we'll see what happens. I'm curious how much prison time would cover tax evasion for the amount I owe... and how bad could it be? Sounds like the prisons that white collar offenders go to are surprisigly similar to my life. Eat, sleep, watch TV, conjugal visits. But no internet - hey, what better environment to finally write out a few screenplays and maybe a novel? Some writers travel to remote cabins to get their work down - I'd get a free ride AND take care of my taxes at the same time.

Claire is insisting I go to some art opening tonite. I made her go on a long hike today - this is my repentence. As if going to El Coyote again with her today wasn't enough. But, I'll bring my camera so hopefully I'll have something more interesting to post than a blog on my taxes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

A Cacophony of Chickens

Back to life as normal. Meaning, hunting for jobs, scraping together money to pay bills, channel surfing, web browsing, procrastinating writing, etc.

But its Los Angeles, and its sunny out, so not much to really complain about.

Before leaving Sonoma, Claire and I paid a visit to her aunt's neighbor Thia, who wanted to show off her chickens. Claire had been by a couple days before to take some freshly laid eggs, so fresh than when she showed me them they were still warm to the touch. Thia had the chickens perform a "symphony" for us by laying out some pans and cans upside down, and putting their feed on top. Their pecking became a cacophony of sound... a chicken symphony.

The rest of the drive was as dull as can be hoped for, with the only heavy traffic really being just outside of L.A., but still better than a typical rush hour.

Now time to catch up on all the blogs I missed, the political message boards, and a couple emails.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

I Like Eggs

Where the hell did the Easter Bunny come from? I understand the whole Santa Claus thing... the evolution of the whole St. Nicholas character to a Coca-Cola advertising icon we now reasily recognize as Santa Claus. But a bunny who lays eggs at Easter? And its a MALE bunny, named Peter Cottontail, laying these eggs. Sounds painful to me. No wonder they come in assorted colors.
Hogging ducks
Claire and I spent the past two days mostly lounging with family. We had a slight diversion yesterday going to a wine tasting event at the Valley of the Moon winery, some pagan bring in the spring thing. For $5 each we got a free wine glass to taste different wines with, along with a food samples. The cool thing about Valley of the Moon is that it was started by witches. Maybe I heard or read this somewhere, or maybe I made it up. I forget. But still, any winery founded by witches is cool enough for me. We also hunted down a reported store that had actually bunnies and chickens on display - the closest we came was a fancy pants home and lawn furnishing store that had a pile of rubber duckies outside.
Me, eggs, artistry.
Everyone went to Claire's grandpa's for Easter brunch. I made myself useful by dying eggs for the first time in years. Not nearly as creative as carving a pumpkin or decorating a Christmas cookie, but I didn't tell them that - instead I got thanked repeatedly for my hard work while dipping eggs in colored water. After we ate everyone proceeded to destroy my eggs in a game of Russian Easter Egg Challenge: everyone gets four eggs, and proceeds to challenge each other for a match of eggs. You smack the tip of your egg against your challengers, and whoever's egg cracks is the loser and disposes of the egg, but they get to use any of their other eggs to continue. After the assorted rounds, whoever is left with an uncracked egg wins. I lost pretty quick, but Claire was doing well until it came down to her and her grandfather, who cracked her egg with ease... but he'd been using a porcelain egg and cheating the whole time. Sigh. White people's entertainment.
Claire's Aunt Ginni, herself, and her grandpa.
Talked to most of my family. My dad and older sister both informed me they've been reading my blog, but have been refraining from leaving comments so as not to stymie my "creativity"... meaning they don't want to read anything families shouldn't know. I imagine if I was single they maybe should be worried - but with a girlfriend I need to restrain myself.

Now just taking it easy with a bad back that I get every once in a while, usually after working on the computer with nasty bad posture... I was walking around like Igor during dinner last night, and still feeling a little stiff today. Hope that I'll be fully recovered for the ride home tomorrow.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Quack-quacks and Choo-choos

Its so hard to post a blog of todays events instead of ranting about whats on TV right now - VH-1's "100 Most Outrageous Celebrity Moments"... a segment of Jessica Simpson wondering if the Starkist tuna she was eating was poultry because the label says "Tuna of the Sea." I'm more intrigued why anyone who finds this girl sexy - she looks like a man to me. A man with a really hot body. But if it weren't for the boobs she could pass for a Marine.
Claire and her grandfather
So, woke up, played with Riley, the dog, and then left to visit with Claire's grandpa. The man is 88 and still a total grandpa, who relishes in recounting his life's adventures, like how he met his wife the first time, "she was the best dancer on the dance floor. I tapped her partner on the shoulder to cut in, and the rest is history." How he was a bigshot at TRW before it was known for tracking credit ratings (it began, and continues, as mainly an engineering firm). How he started driving at the age of 12, and started flying when he turned 60... and then circumnavigated the globe in a modified Cessna, alone, at 80.

Hit a couple vineyards. Was flattered when one place asked for my i.d. Lunch at the "square", the center of town. Claire swiped some bread so she could feed some ducks in the pond, but they seemed disinterested.

Next up: Train Town.

The first time I saw Train Town was when we were driving home on an earlier visit in Santa Rosa. From the outside, the place reminded me a place that had appeared in a couple vivid dreams I'd had. The front was lined with old train cars and a train station. I told Claire to pull off so I could peek inside. Even creepier, the place had some carnival type rides, and, just as in the dream, one of those spinning train changer things. Only $3.50 to get in - but they were closed. Claire promised that the next time we came up that we'd go in.
Train Town: Not only creepy, but taking steps to be free of perversion
A year and a half later, we entered. The place was as in the dream... the featured attraction, a scale model, rideable train, took us on a twenty minute ride through the park. Since only a few rides were open on this Friday, the train was the only way to see most of the park, including a creepy child size roller coaster with evil looking metallic dragon cars. The route was decorated with small houses and villages, some with cheap rag dolls included in the dioramas. I was never quick enough on the camera to get any of the best ones. Halfway through the ride the train stopped at a petting zoo. Claire and I considered ducking off and waiting til the next train came around... but then I thought, its just goats. After the ride I bought a conductors cap so i could have Claire take some silly pics of me acting like I was five again, and suitable pouted when she said it was time to go.

Left and set up camp at Claire's Aunt Ginny and Uncle Peter's cool little home. I was ready for a nap and a diaper change, but Claire then dragged me back to her grandpa's for dinner, where his caregiver, a Filipino lady name Wilma or something, told Claire that grandpa was upset that I was wearing my baseball cap in the house. After having my i.d. checked, riding on choo-choos, and then being chastized for bad manner I did

Claire and I threw on the TV when we got home, and were immediately treated to some underage nudity and incest on network TV.

How is it that women's boobs are taboo on TV, child porn is illegal, and incest is a bad no no... but its okay to show naked two year olds in order to sell baby lotion, including a shot of their "mom" caressing their naked bottoms with a towel? Somethings screwed up here.

On a more practical level, I wondered if really flat girls were to show their boobs on TV, would anyone care? And if not, does this mean that big breasted girls have less rights than small chested girls?

As Claire and I discussed this, I told her that this was exactly the type of thought that people blog. And then I whipped out my laptop and started writing.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Highway Hypnosis

The drive was pretty uneventful and un-blog worth, at least by more distinguished writers standards. I went into Zen meditation mode so the redundancy of the trip didn't bother me. The car was in Claire's name, and Enterprise would have required me to have a $250 hold put on my Visa/Check card, so I wasn't allowed to drive. The car didn't have a tape deck - just a CD player - so I couldn't use my iPod with the cassette adpapter. Instead I whipped out my laptop a couple times and burned some custom mixes.

Since I had watched some of Condi's testimony, and was bored to tears, before we left, I didn't really need to listen to the news.

The worst part of the drive in the past has always been driving by Harris Ranch and inhaling the stank of the millions of cows that wait out the rest of their short lives before being turned into tasty burgers. You can smell it from miles away, what is essenitally a bovine concentration camp, and sucked even worse when we'd drive up in the middle of summer in Claire's old car that had no ventilation, let alone air conditioning. On this trip, however, we went for broke and stopped off at the Harris Ranch Restaurant, a couple short miles downwind of the cows. Steak fresh enough that you could milk it. Good stuff.

And beyond watching the gas prices rise and fall along the freeway from $2.05 to $2.50 per gallon (sometimes varying this much within a hundred yards), not a damn thing of note. Claire tried to liven things up by getting truckers to blow their horns... and succeeded a few times.

Now sitting in Claire's Aunt Pat's living room with her dog Riley trying to figure out where I can find a phone line so I can post this thing. Alas, if I'm not responding to comments left here or elsewhere its due to minimal internet access for the next few days.

Tomorrow should be more entertaining. Visiting Claire's Grandpa, hitting up a couple wineries, and making a long anticipated visit to a place that had appeared in many of my nightmares and dreams long before I ever visited Northern California... Train Town.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Hopping down the Bunny Trail...

Leaving in the a.m. with Claire to visit her grandpa, dad, and "that" side of the family for Easter weekend. Way up in Sonoma., north of San Fran a little. I dread the drive, but since I hope to photoblog it along the way with my new camera phone, it could be fun. Right now I'm juicing up the iPod so we'll have endless tunes. I'm so tech savvy.

Was going to pick up an antennae for the Volvo so we could listen to the radio on the way up. But I'm a moron and forgot that I booked a rental car that we'll actually be using. So the Volvo can wait. My ulterior motive is to be able to listen to a little of Condi Rice's testimony at the 9/11 commission tomorrow. I don't think Claire will put up with it, though, even for a moment. Maybe if I keep her up late tonite she'll sleep most of the way...

I'm actually drafting a few different posts for the blog offline. Sure, it isn't as cool as the long winded, stream of conciousness crap below, but I'd for anyone to think that this writing here is my standard for quality. First up will be a rant entitled: My Case Against George Bush. I think as time goes on I'll drift further and further from one of my orginal statements about no political posts.

(for my handful of readers who haven't figure it out by now, if you click on the word "comment" that is under each post, you can leave a comment. If you want to check out my online photo album, click on any of the pics to the right... where you'll also be able to leave comments for individual photos.)

Article of the Week: Easter Bunny martyred

Easter Bunny whipped at church show; some families upset

Is this the workings of the Church of the Sub Genius?

Regardless, I need to start going to church activities more often.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Testing a new interface called w.bloggar

Details can be found by clicking Here.

Dunno everything it will help with, but so far I know it lets text float around images, like this fancy shot I took at the 99cent Only Store today.Tasty treats!

And I can easily do crap stuff like strike-thrus.

And I can change the font, with some limitations.

I can also center, justify, and screw with the text in a few other ways.

All for free.

Neat stuff.

My second ass and El Coyote.

My plan, right now, is that if I get one of these gigs I'll go to Coachella. At least I know that way I can pay for it, instead of having Claire charge it and then me paying it off. Damn I need a real credit card.

Claire wants to go to El Coyote again for lunch today. I think I'm the only Angeleno who hates that place. I love the atmososphere, but I prefer the taste from chewing on my nails than their meat. And their sauce... well... I now have a second ass reserved just to take care of the sauce.

But, Claire was nice enough to let me charge my computer power cable on her card last night, so I should go without complaining. Well, I'll go. A trip to El Coyote isn't complete without me making a comment about my second ass.

Today's Highlight: A double filet o' fish.

It was one of the bad energy days. Maybe it was because of the ten year anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide, or maybe it was because I began the day without a wholesome breakfast. Well, I never eat breakfast, unless you count a handful of Oreo's now and then.

Began the day with an interview on the touring boat thing, but it turned out that the job wouldn't be on the boat. This was good news, except that I first learned this after being told the boat would be going all the way down the Mississippi, and I mentioned how that was a dream trip of mine (although I've always wanted to do it with a canoe or cheap ass float boat, not an immense yacht). I was informed that the job would be doing leg work before the boat's arrival, setting up different events that the boat would be a backdrop for. Stuff like movie screenings, parties, and tours of the boat. Nothing difficult, nothing new. But somehow I felt totally intimidated during the interview. I hate feeling like I'm being tested, and I was. But I should have reminded myself that I really do know my shit, that I do know how to gauge how many portalets are needed for varying crowds, that this event was small beans in comparison to many others I've worked and I few I've run. Anyway, I felt like I was choking. This bad vibe comes over me, that permeates for the rest of the day.

I call my girl Claire after, and she informs me that she's been in cranky mood all day, but not to take it personally. A little later I call her from McDonalds, where I'm exciting to discover a "double filet o' fish sandwich", and she tells me that the unemployment insurance she filed for was declined, this after numerous phone calls and piles of paperwork to get it rolling. I'd been through it before, so wasn't surprised, but still made her day only worse.

Anyway, got home to discover that the plug to my laptop had broken. With what battery power I had left I scoured the net for places to get a replacement - everywhere it would cost $130, but if I ordered it online it would be only $60. Seems silly for the dumbest part of the computer, considering I could triple the memory for the same price. Anyway, before I run out to drop $130 on a replacement cord, the folks from the boat tour thing call me and I ask if I can come in for a second interview Tuesday morning. I'm shocked, but I say yes, of course.

So, the bad vibe was perhaps all due to the Kurt Cobain thing, or lack of breakfast. In the morning I'll need to make adjustments to avoid a repeat.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Hero of the Week

Kenny Hess, senior, Spanaway Lake High School

A Spanaway Lake High School senior has been banned from TV production assignments for the rest of the year because he altered the Pledge of Allegiance during a student-produced broadcast.

Way back in high school, our film/video class also did a morning broadcast for the classrooms throughout Lyme-Old Lyme High School. The typical format was that we read the school announcements, and would occasionally then show a video we'd made in class. Nothing that I'd call edgy. Since my inspirations were folks like David Letterman and Michael Moore, my contributions would be coverage of Richard Simmons visiting a local mall, or "man in the hall" interviews with kids late for class, or just skipping altogether. Of course, the one day I was off visiting my dad in Ohio is when the edgiest of videos was broadcast, and the plug was pulled. And it all had to do with corn.

After the morning announcements, the student talking head announced they had a special guest - the "lunch lady". The Lunch Lady was just another male student, in a bad wig, who's only reply to any question was another question: "Would you like some corn?"

Soon after her appearance, a complaint was lodged with the Principal that the Film and Video guys were making fun of the lunch ladies, who the complaining student was, I believe, related to. In reality, the guys weren't basing the character on anyone in particular. Trust me, no of us were THAT clever. But since they had supposedly offended someone, we weren't allowed to broadcast again for some indefinite period.

When I returned to the school I was pretty livid. Why didn't our film/video teacher stick up for us - instead, we got a lecture.

I think it was only a couple weeks before we were able to show videos and the announcements again. Sometime later, our teacher conceded that she, indeed, should have backed us up. But a little late to earn our respect or trust. I can only imagine that had we made a political statement in this climate, that we'd be in the same boat as Kenny Hess.

Instead, my life lesson in all that was just over corn.

I'm tempted to write the kid a letter of support. If he really wants to get into broadcasting, he should stick to his guns, and even sue the school. At the very least, he should end up interviewed on Headline News or Fox, and made some decent contacts along the way. He could likely land a decent internship also. He probably doesn't see it this way now, but he's a got a good foot in the door. And regardless, the kid has balls.

To Coachella, or not to Coachella?

I keep getting the itching to go to the 2004 Coachella Valley Music Festival.
I barely even knew what Coachella was until this year, when it was announced that the Pixies would be playing there - my second all time favorite band, second only to Pixies lead singer Black Francis' solo career as Frank Black. Anyway, I've seen Frank play around L.A. a few times, but before I even knew who they were, the Pixies had broken up. And so it would be pretty cool to see them live.
But, I hate large crowds. I mean, I love large crowds - if I'm the guy with the bullhorn, or managing the event. But I hate being a part of large crowds. If I'm going to see a band, I prefer clubs or smaller venues. I'd say this is part of me getting old, but, really, I've never liked crowds except while waiting in line for a movie opening night, or sporting events. Something about feeling like cattle.
Anyway, Coachella sounds like hell. Its a festival, so there aren't even seats. Its like a mini-Woodstock, I hear... well, people say its like Burning Man, but I barely know what thats all about, and it sounds like a mini-Woodstock.
And the concept of camping out in a field full of kids hopped up on ecstasty or stoned on the reefer sounds even less appealing.
But, for some twisted reason - for all these reasons I think I want to go and do it. For adventure's sake. And the Pixies.

Diet Coke Theft

Saw Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind at a Sunday matinee with Claire, over at the Arclight, the best damned theatre in the country. They have reserved seating, comfy seats, great sound. They don't let children into R rated films, and nobody gets in five minutes after the film starts. It sounds like a place for film snobs but, really, its always full of film buffs. The place also doesn't show ads for anything other than movies. Of course, it costs between $11 and $14 per movie, no matter when you see it.

Before the movie even begins Claire and I are cracking up over a trailer for the new Will Ferrell film. He's just one of those guys who could be doing Shakespeare seriously and it would still be funny. After the trailers finish, the lights dim, and two people who were walking in to find their seats bump right into each other, in front of the whole audience. A "had to be there" moment, but the whole theatre began to nervously laugh, and then erupted into full fledged howling. Well, not quite howling...

I'd gotten Claire a diet Coke that I'd sip from throughout the film, that we kept in the arm rest cup holder between us. At one point I'm digging the straw around the ice for whatever's left. A few minutes later I reach for the diet Coke, and its full again. I give it no thought. A moment later, I'm sucking around the ice again - and then realize I've been stealing soda from the woman sitting next to me - not Claire. I quickly return the diet Coke to her armrest. I decide to say nothing, but have a hard time staying silent when I hear the woman sucking around the ice herself, and later removing the lid to chew on some ice. In the meantime, I go to Claire's half full diet Coke.


Life update: I think I'm having to job interviews this week. One for THE COMPANY that I've been trying to work for for the past few months, the second for a job I saw on Craigs List for another tour production manager gig. After emailing my resume to the place late Friday, I received a quick response, saying they like my creds and wanted references. I sent those back right away. Another quick reply from the employer said thanks. I replied back, half kiddingly about how fast they were. When I told Claire about the job, and the banter, she said she knew the guy. Sheer coincidence. Someone she used to bartend with at Les Deux. She called him up right away, pumped me up, and now I have an interview next week. Supposedly this particular job may already be filled... but that might be okay. It would be touring on a boat along the East Coast, and up the Mississippi... I get seasick easy. But, would be an adventure.

Friday, April 02, 2004

This is the last time I'll discuss blogging in my blog...

I should have caught on by now, or maybe I did and just didn't want to accept it, or I'm just a weak bastard... but the best of the blogs do have a formula.

The bitches just write.

Content of the content doesn't matter so much as having content. Which is totally against everything I was ever taught about writing, that show don't tell crap (which I obviously never learned).

From here out I'm just gonna write whatever is happening in my fragile little mind... anything except about blogging.

Vampires and KGB agents

I posted this in the comments section at The Tall Guy's blog, after reading of his and Bunny McIntosh's adventures trying to get a gas station let them put gasoline into a 2 liter plastic soda bottle...

When I was younger and wished that vampires or KGB agents might try and get me, I had knives hidden around my bedroom, booby trapped boxes in my closet, and also had an Orangina bottle of gasoline in a desk drawer for any emergency Molotov cocktail needs.
Silly me. Wasn't long before my room smelled of gasoline.
The lid was on tight, but the gasoline had eaten through the glass bottle and was soaking into the wood desk.
Alas, I understand why there are unlawful containers.

Sigh, I miss the days when I believed in vampires and KGB agents.

To which another poster, known as The Midnight Mailman Show replied:

I believe in vampires and KGB agents. the only real way to kill one is with secret Moltov cocktails. that's some head you have there, kid, to be that prepared at such a young age.

I'd like to hire you, kid. I run a secret government spy organization that specifically targets vampires and KGB agents. We'd love to have you.

People are strange, when you're a stranger...

Would Eddie Blog?

Until I get a job, and a job of interest at that, maybe I need to steer my blog direction towards my eye on the news. I know a billion other biased people are doing it, so why not one clear thinker like me?

And, its hard to write about Offline Adventures when most of my time is spent being an internet junkie.

The most interesting thing to happen in the past week was bumping into Billy "Hobbit Pippin" Boyd at a party my friend Josh had. The bash was a book launch party for "Eddie Would Go", about one of the all time famous surfers, and Josh has the rights to turn it into a film. He somehow booked Tia Carrere to "host" the party, and the only other celebrities I spotted there was the dude who played Freddy "Boom Boom" Washington on Welcome Back Kotter, who starred in a movie Josh produced, and porn star Kara Knox. I bumped into some filmmaker friends of mine and hung with them for a while, but the place was getting packed, and I hate the club scene. Anyway, on my way out to say bye to Josh, I bumped into Hobbit Billy Boyd. I was tempted to ask for a pic, but figured he must be sick of that shit. I was more impressed that my friend Josh was able to get him to come.

A little background on Josh... we worked on The Usual Suspects together, both as office p.a.s. I wasn't hired until halfway through the shoot, because the office intern was fired after punching Josh for some reason. Its always a fun story to tell, especially to people who know Josh, because while he can be blunt, and sometimes rude, he's not the kind of guy you'd expect to get in a fight. Anyway, he's a great guy, and hasn't become too Hollywood, even after his recent stint as an effects producer on the Matrix sequels.

A little background on Tia Carrere... I'd known her since before I moved to L.A., mostly as one of the hotties on MacGyver. I somehow landed a housesitting gig for the producer of Waynes World 2 the moment I hit L.A., and as a thank you the producer took me to Jay Leno set, where I met Tia before she taped a segment for the movie. The producer's assistants were also trying to get me to rent Tia's guest house for $400 a month, but I'd also have to hand out flyers for her husbands clubs a few nights a week. Anyway, the same assistants warned me to be careful because Tia's husband was mafia, and I might not want to get involved in that scene. I regret saying no... imagine the tales... I could have been a Kato.

Anyway, those were the days when a blog of offline adventures would have made more sense. Now, I have a girlfriend who likes to cook, a comfy home, and not enough reason to get off my ass.

On the bright side, I've been keeping up with this blog. Hopefully I'll be able to transition the energy into more productive writing soon... I even a film idea that I'm currently calling ::: bloggers :::.

Of course, thats on top of a half dozen other ideas.

Article and video that made me crack up: - News - Bored Boy Behind President Gets Nationwide Attention