Monday, October 30, 2006

Is it just me?

Or does Knott's Scary Farm sound like "Not Scary" Farm when you hear it advertised on the radio?

Not that I'm planning on going... it just kind of seems like bad marketing...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Good News Always Comes in Fives

Honestly, I've never heard this said, but the last two weeks have made me a believer.

1. I quit my job. August 25th was my last day. Luckily, I had script supervising for Sallie's awesome short and pre-production for my own short to fill up my next week, because I had to have something to do in between all the anxiety-induced super nightmares that followed. Strangely enough, even after waking up with a scary-fast heart beat after dreaming about being chased by angry natives through the African desert after getting off the NYC subway at the wrong stop, I never regretted quitting -- or reconsidered breaking my promise to myself to never, ever work another bullshit office day job again unless a starving child is involved.

2. CH asked me to marry him on August 30. And, of course, I said yes. I've been trying to figure out some clever way to announce this on my blog for the last week and a half, but for once, I don't feel like being clever. I'm just so happy. So incredibly happy. That's all.

3. We shot my short film, 15 Ways. We're still in post-production until this Friday, so I can't really paint a clear picture of the process yet, but check out what my fellow scribe and the most awesome Production Manager ever, Rob wrote about it here. And see what my other friend and playwright, Kyle, wrote about it here.

4. I got a new job. This is the really scary one, because I was absolutely not expecting this. But it's basically writing the weekend radio show, American Top 40 w/ Ryan Seacrest. Those of you who know me, know that this is the perfect job for me, b/c I basically love, love, love pop culture, and can't believe I now have a job that'll allow me to read US Weekly and other gossip rags without guilt -- because it's for work. Also it's more money than all of my past terrible day jobs, and the hours are fab, and it comes with bennies. So yea . . .

5. I'm Walking on Sunshine. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with all this happiness. I feel very, very optimistic, and that scares me. But every so often I stop trying to process all my good news for a second and think: Maybe something bad will happen. Maybe the other shoe will drop. And maybe I'll still be happy. Maybe I'm growing up.

Or something like that . . ..

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Busy as an etc

I mean way to busy to even be funny. It's kind of sad. Anyway, here's a really boring update of my exciting life.

1. Went to St. Louis with CH, and he met the fam. Highlights included:

a. The family picnic, where CH finally had real St. Louis BBQ.
b. Meeting the preemie twins my cousin gave birth to in July. They finally came home from the hospital the day we flew in for the picnic, and I can't explain how cute these babies were. So small. Like little cocoon things, but stronger now and curious.
c. Afternoon cheesecake with my two aunts who bicker like middle-aged versions of me and my sister. So looking forward to getting old and grumpy.
d. Dinner, cornbread, espresso, three-buck Chuck (add a dollar in the Midwest for shipping) and good conversation with my mentor and second mother, Mrs. Rowan and her husband.
e. Breakfast in the whitest part of St. Louis County with my father and stepmother. Yes, my father chose the restaurant. Yes, we suspect he chose it because CH is white. Yes, I'm still wondering how CH managed not to be offended.

2. Script supervisoring for my friend Sallie's short film. She was kind enought to send me this wonderful explanation of what it is exactly that a script supervisor does. And she didn't get mad that I asked her for a definition of what a script supervisor does 21 days after I agreed to take the position and three days before principal photography was set to begin. Man, that chyck is cool.

3. Script supervisoring for my own short film, "15 Ways to Dump A Girl," which we'll be shooting over Labor Day Weekend. CH is directing. Rob Ripley is PMing. Kalimba and just about every male actor I know is starring. Should be tons of fun. Will keep you posted.

4. Caught a cold on Monday, and acted a fool for three days. Though, I did not claim tuberculosis as I did during the Great Three Day Flu Scare of 2002, I did repeatedly beg CH and Sallie and Hettie Banger to "get a rifle and put me down like Old Yeller" during the worse of it. But yeah, I'm feeling better now...

5. Halfway through my novel. Yea! 150 more pages to go...

Okay, that's all.

One or Two or Three (sometimes Five) Line Movie Reviews

Here are my one or two or three line movie reviews. I'll be updating this entry throughout the summer and bumping it back to the top.

Star means new review.

*Half Nelson: Darn the indie gods. This opened in NYC two weeks ago, but I'm still waiting for it to come to L.A. This is made worse, because NPR has been crushing on it ever since it opened, and I am sincerely jealous. Much gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes will abound until I, too, am able to witness The Notebook's Ryan Gosling hitting the crackpipe.

*Talladega Nights: The Tale of Ricky Bobby: So dumb but so funny. Strangely enough, the only wrong note was Amy Adams. I know I'm supposed to be in love with her along with the rest of the world, but it was like she was acting in an entirely different movie. Anyway, Sasha Cohen is a genius, and his performance makes up for any wrong notes in the movie.

*The Descent: Better written than most horror movies, but this one lost me at what I like to call stupid white women doing stupid white shit -- like extreme spelunking. There were no black people whatsoever in this film, and for once, I felt that was entirely appropriate.

Little Miss Sunshine: I loved this movie so much, I don't even want to talk about it, because all I will do is gush. But I will say this: Anyone who doesn't like this movie is a terrible person. And this: Olive Hoover for President. That's all.

Pirates of the Carribbean: Needlessly Extended Action Scenes + Total Audience Manipulation + Johnny Depp to Distract You From the First Two Elements = Pirates of the Carribbean. Watch the best review I've seen of this movie at

Monster House: If you have kids under 10, do not take them to this movie. I'm 29, and I was cowering underneath for my seat most of the movie. If you can get past the heart-stopping situations, this movie has a great story, look, and such good camera work, it's almost bad, because it's kind of distracting.

The Devil Wears Prada: Okay, I and every other girl I know loved this movie. It had clothes, clothes, and (unlike Nacho Libre), a plot-line to best display those clothes. It was like a movie aimed directly at my inner girly-girl. I can only tsk at all the men that gave this a movie of bad review. "Silly Critics, Prada is for Chycks!"

A Scanner Darkly: I liked this movie a lot. Amazing look, intriguing plot. Plus, I love stories that just completely turn you off of a bad thing. Like I always figure people who committed crime after 1997 had never watched a complete season of HBO's prison-drama OZ, and after watching this movie, there's no way I'm ever touching LSD.

Superman: I had really low expectations for this, but let me tell you, it had me hooked at the opening credits. You never know how much you miss an icon until his theme music starts playing. It was a tad too long, and the Lois Lane character way too self-involved (after a five-year absence, she won't even take the time to say a proper hello to Clark Kent). But the action scenes sang operatic and the characters were actually complex. Long live Bryan Singer.

Mission Impossible 3: Good script by J.J. Abrams, but I think we're all sick of Tom Cruise.

X-Men 3: Totally okay. You won't ask for your money back.

Prarie Home Companion: My fellow blogger and friend, Kyle Wilson, called it mediocre, but I loved it. It was so touching, sweet, and melancholy, I cried and cried. Somehow, it kind of reminded me of my almost visceral reaction to my favorite movie of all time, the Seventh Seal.

District B-13: It's bad acting (I could tell even though it was in French), implausible situations, and really bad story structure. But it's so much fun, and the stunts are so awesome, you probably won't care.

Inconvenient Truth: As it turns out, the real horror film is the environment's future.

Nacho Libre: Bad and so disappointing. I love Jack Black and screenwriter, Mike White, but not enough to watch them masturbate for an hour and a half.

And now for my seven-word Poseidon review. WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT

Poseidon: I'm glad all the white people survived.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Riddle Me This...

Did anyone else who saw last Sunday's (08/07/06) episode of Entourage think a huge ad fee was paid by the Vegas Tourism Board? I'm muy suspicious...

That's all.

Monday, July 24, 2006

LOVE Vegas-style

So CH and I went to Vegas for our one year anniversary to see LOVE, the new Beatles-inspired Cirque du Soleil show.

I had high expectations, but I had no idea. Let me tell you , it was probably the least acrobatic Cirque show ever, but is was so visually amazing, from the very first number, I just didn't care. It was so good, I don't even want to tell you any details about it, because I don't want to spoil one moment of it for you.

But I felt like a child watching it. And by the time they played "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," I was openly weeping. I LOVEd everything and everybody.

I've been trying to remember the term for having a completely emotional reaction to a piece of art ever since. I think it starts with an "s"...

Other highlights:

Rum Jungle, the Brazillian Rodizio by day/discoteche by night at Mandalay Bay.

Having been burnt before, CH and I went in with a plan to turn down all bready and filling items offered beforehand, so that we could save room for the all-you-can-eat meat.

But the Rum Jungle folk are crafty for sure. They offered us four types of bread, including sweet potato and jalepeno. Which with Midwestern me and California CH is a perfect one-two punch. They also brought out black beans and coconut rice with the most lovely plantains. It just about killed me to eat only one.

But it all worked out it the end. We made it through the full rotation of meats. I even got seconds on the spicy honey-mustard turkey breast, which was so moist, you wondered if the turkey it had been made from hadn't spent it's entire life lounging in a vat of orange juice. And best of all, we had a bowl of plantains for the dessert. Mmm-mmm.

House of Blues Sunday Gospel Brunch: I've been meaning to go to this for a while in L.A., so was happy to see there was also one in Vegas.

The food was good, and the service was terrible. So terrible, in fact, that I found myself having to go up the bar to refill the coffee thermos for our entire section. This wouldn't have been so bad, but the gospel singers somehow chose the moment I was heading back to the table to thank the servers -- A spotlight came down on me and grudging applause went up from the audience. I'm sure a few people were wondering why I hadn't refilled their coffee yet. Apparently, Christians expect good service -- even on the Lord's Day.

Still, the show was great, and I totally solved a tricky screenplay I wrote three years ago, while they were singing, "An Angel Done Signed My Name." I love when that happens!

The Hotel: To my delight, we stayed at the Luxor, which rocked, because everything was Egyptian-themed in the tackiest way possible -- even the carpets.

And because the hotel's shaped like a pyramid, we got to ride in the inclinator, an updated, and 10 times less unsettling version of the creaky St. Louis Arch elevator, which also swings back and forth in order to take you to the top.

The only drawback: Carrot Top is their mainshow, and there were ads for him everywhere. And he's got these huge muscles now, so there's like even more of him. Ugh, I'm still seeing that red mop top in my nightmares.

The Heat: Yes, Vegas is hot. We only left the air conditoned Luxor-Mandalay Bay compound twice. It was 112 degrees, and unlike the rest of the country, they weren't having a heatwave. Apparently this is a typical summer in Vegas. I'm still wondering how people actually live there.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The First 24 Hours of the Rest of My Life

June 28, 2006

7:00pm - CH and I were supposed to go to the gym, but I'm too anxious about the FX announcement to do anything but sit in a dark movie theater, so we head down to the Mann Chinese to see the new Superman.

8:00pm - We're at the Mann, but nearer the front, b/c we didn't get there an hour beforehand. Actually, the seats weren't that bad, but we've kind of gotten used to the assigned seating, quiet audience, plenty of legroom, only two trailers loveliness that is the ArcLight. And after the ArcLight, everywhere else kind of seems like the Wild West somehow.

9:00pm - Superman is really good. Read my three line review here.

10:00pm - Still watching Superman....

11:00pm - Call one of our co-producers, Steve, about the contract that FX has sent over for us to sign before the winner is announced -- though we tried to read into this as a sign that we were at least in the top 5, a later reading of the Sunny FX boards would reveal that all the semi-finalists were sent this contract just in case. It's actually in the contract that we're not allowed to talk about the contract, but I will say this: "Draconian" isn't just a Da Vinci Code clue.

12:00am - I tell CH, "I'm never going to be able to get to sleep." Then I'm out cold about five minutes later. You can take the girl out of sleep-deprivation . . . actually, you can't take the girl out of sleep deprivation, which is probably why I fell asleep so fast.

1:00am - Still sleeping.

2:00am - I probably rolled over.

3:00am - I vaguely remember pulling the covers back on top of me after kicking them off in the five hot minutes before I fell asleep.

4:00am - 4am pee! Wee! Get it, wee? What? It's 4am, a wee double entendre is the best I can do. Geez...

5:00am - Still sleeping.

6:00am - The alarm goes off. I think about getting up and starting my day early, so I can leave work early, then I roll over. I hear CH get up about 15 minutes later.

7:00am - Okay, I'm up. CH has already left for the day, because he's basically a better person than I am. I check my email, to see that Steve's left me a message about the FX contract. I return it, and then I update my podcasts and my Ipod. African-American Roundtable, here I come.

8:00am - I get to work around 8:13. I choose the stronger pot of coffee that they keep on the back burner for the braver folk. I have a feeling it's going to be a very long day. At the very least, I know it's going to be 12 more hours until I find out the fate of Who You Know.

9:00am - Listening to my podcasts. Today I learned that:
1. Most American support flag-burning bans, but don't want a law written in the constitution about it. Gallup Poll Daily Briefing
2. TV sitcoms aren't dying, but they are in an assisted care facility and no one ever comes to visit them. And somehow I manage to diassociate myself and everything I'm working towards from this podcast. Seriously, thank you, God, for the gift of denial. Martini Shot
3. Eminem joined Busta on stage at the BET Awards. Apparently is was big -- but pleasant surprise. MTV News
4. Some Republican senator has proposed taxing prostitutes and pimps. NPR: African-American Roundtable
5. There really is a city called Metropolis. But it's in Illinois. And doesn't have movie theatre. NPR: Most Emailed Stories
6. Sensitivity Training was invented in the 1940s. Slate Explainer

10:00am - Switch from podcasts to an audiobook. Try not to think about the contest. But apparently I am, and I think it might be driving me a little crazy, because I turned down an invite to watch the results at one of the promo actresses' house, and I honestly thought the following was an appropriate reply, though I've only met this person twice:

Deanna, thanks for the invite. However, we have an East Coast feed for the FX channel, so I'll be watching it alone at 7pm and plan on spending the rest of the night in the fetal position if things don't go according to what I hope is God's master plan. So I won't be stopping by . . . I'm tired and cranky and working very hard on developing an ulcer.


11:00am - Enter fuel surcharges into the AS400 program at work. Yes, this actually even more boring than it sounds. But I like it, because it's doesn't require a lot of mental work, which gives me more brainwaves to dedicate to worrying about the contest.

12:00pm - I receive a call that I can't really talk about here. Then Kalimba calls me to let me know she and Steve have signed the contract and left it under Steve's doormat for me to pick up, sign and fax.

1:00pm - I get another call that I can't really talk about, but definitely plan to blog about later.

2:0opm - Kalimba calls and say Steve's lawyer doesn't like the contract for reasons I can't legally talk about. We schedule a conference call for three. I tell my boss, who is actually super duper nice what's up, and ask to leave at 3pm. She completely understands in that way that only L.A. bosses do. I finally eat lunch, though I have no appetite. It's an orange pork and scallion dish with matchstick carrots courtesy of a Cooking Light recipe. It's actually really yummy. I eat and read the immensely disturbing second act of Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) graphic novel, David Boring.

It's a lovely half-hour of calm, during which no one calls or emails. But almost as soon as I get back to my desk, an email pops up from Steve's lawyer, with a list of problems with the contract and a recommendation that we not sign it.

3:00pm - Steve, Kalimba and I talk about the contract. Then we talk about it some more. About an hour later, we all agree to sign it anyway. I briefly consider adding a bloody fingerprint after my name, but then decide against it, but only because it wouldn't translate over a fax.

4:00pm - Send the contract off to Kinko's and decide that I'm going to blog about my 24 hours before the contest announcement. My heart rate is still way up, and though I'm not feeling any pain yet, I have a feeling I'm making really good progress on my ulcer.

5:00pm - I'm back at home. I watch reruns of Girlfriends and try not to think about the contest.

6:00pm - I don't have any episodes of Girlfriends left on the Tivo, but when I turn on live TV, I see that they have an episode on BET. Before I know it, it's 7pm.

7:00pm - Steve arrives at my house to watch the East Coast feed of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I'm happy to have him there, but it does mess up my plan to watch the both episodes in the fetal position.

So the way FX decides to do this, at the beginning or end of every commercial break, they announce one of finalists, and at the end of the season premiere, they announced the winner. So even if you didn't win, you'd have to watch at least 45 minutes of FX to find out you weren't even in the running. Sneaky, sneaky FX. Well, here's how it went down:

1st commercial break: Side Show
2nd commercial break: Party Animals
3rd commercial break: Subs
4th commercial break: Gloomy is the New Clear
5th commercial break: WHO YOU KNOW

Yes, by 45 minutes into the hour we had started talking in fake-cheery tones about how making it the Top 20 was a huge honor, and how we should just be happy with that.

Yes, we did go crazy when our show was finally announced, jumping up and down like Rocky on top of the steps. And . . .

No, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be when we found out 10 minutes later that we didn't win the $50,000 prize.

That honor went to Subs. And honestly, watching Sunny, I could see why. Though I think our show was better executed, their concept went more with what seems to be FX's vision for their comedy department.

However, I didn't curl up in the fetal position. Instead, Steve and I walked down to Pazzo Gelato, and talked about the pilot we were still going to shoot, and the rewrites we wanted to make, and just how dope FX Top Five would look on our resumes.

I took a chance and tried the white peach sorbetto and the root beer float gelato together.

And I wasn't surprised when it turned out to be delicious.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


By this point, you've probably received some kind of email, phone call, or electronic notice that I co-wrote and co-produced a promo for a series called WHO YOU KNOW, about eccentric artists living in L.A. Well, the promo was selected out of 3000 submissions to go on to the Top 20 of an FX Channel's competition to find the best pitch for a new series.

And the winner will get $50,000 to shoot a pilot. Dude, I'm so excited, but we need your help to get to the top spot

Right now, please go to and vote for WHO YOU KNOW.

You must have a MySpace account to vote, and check it, YOU CAN VOTE EVERY SINGLE DAY, until the winner is announced on June 29 during the Always Sunny in Philadelphia second season premiere.

If you have trouble watching the movie on the sunny fx page, go to our page at and watch and vote from there.

Yea! Stay tuned to this page to see what happens.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Okay JUNE is for Catch-Up

First of all, if you're ever in Silverlake, CA, you must check out this new place, Pazzo Gelato. I'm saying this, even though they don't really need your business, as most nights they have a line out the door. But every gelato is made fresh on the premises with real ingredients, and every one is just ridiculously delicious -- seriously, I think a deal with the devil was made, and I can't hate 'em for it, because I now have a crack-like addiction to the stuff. Check out L.A. blogger's Juli B's review here.

CH and I had gelato with our mutual friend, the fantastic candyblogger, Cyble May, and her husband, and she asked me in her usual super-straightforward way if my blog was now defunct. As I stared embarrassed into my lemon mint (like a mohito, but in sorbetto form) and grape scoops, CH explained to her that I had been working on my blog, but was saving most of my entries as drafts. Then she said the words that would inspire me to actually finish catching up my blog:

"You know, as a blogger, you don't have to be good," she told me. "you just have to be there."

Well I can't argue with that, or this Pazzo Gelato cinnamon milkshake recipe that appeared in the Los Angeles Times:

Pazzo Gelato's cinnamon milkshakes

June 14, 2006

Total time: 20 minutes, plus several hours chilling and freezing time

Servings: 4

Note: From Pazzo Gelato in Silver Lake. Vanilla paste and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract can be purchased at Surfas in Culver City, Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma stores.


3 cups whole organic milk

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup vanilla paste

1 teaspoon Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla paste, vanilla extract and one-half teaspoon cinnamon. Allow the mixture to cool, then cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

3. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker or gelato machine and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place in a container and freeze. Makes 1 quart.


1 recipe cinnamon gelato

1 cup whole organic milk

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup fresh whipped cream for garnish

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon for garnish

1. Allow the gelato to sit out for about 10 minutes before scooping. Make the shakes in two batches. In a shake machine or blender, mix four (4-ounce) rounded scoops of gelato, one-half cup milk and one-quarter cup heavy cream. Blend until smooth. Pour into two glasses. Repeat.

2. Top each shake with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Each serving: 469 calories; 9 grams protein; 51 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 24 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 85 mg. cholesterol; 115 mg. sodium.

Monday, June 05, 2006

MAY is for CATCH-UP (and more wine tasting)


I was feeling spunky in May, so I decided to catch up my blog, and I got off to a good start, logging a bunch of months, and saving them as drafts, but then . . .

I went to New York to meet CH, who was on the lighting team for the 2006 Fox Upfronts. Upfronts are basically a big pitch show that all the broadcast networks put on for the ad men every year, to get them to buy ads on their old and new shows. I loved this show, because it was basically an hour of trailers and really implausible sales figures. The only thing killing the enjoyment were the ad execs. Dude, they don't laugh at anything. It was really kind of uncomfortable, like watching a funny and light-spectacular show in a crypt.

I actually felt sorry for the actors. You always hear that they "get trotted out" at these things, but seriously this is what they do. Towards the beginning of the show, all the FOX show stars walk out while being announced like show horses. They wave, and then they leave. Most of them don't even speak. And if they do speak, they're either a comedian or the star of a show that's doing exceedingly well. Here are shows that I'm looking forward to:

1. Til Death with Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond fame. The show also stars Eddie Kaye Thomas from the American Pie series and Off-Centre ,which I loved == (the tv show, not the movies. Brad Garrett did a few minutes of stand-up, and he was pretty funny. At one point he said, "I see Paula Abdul's here. It's nice to see they have a shuttle bus system at Bellvue." It was so mean, but really funny. Dude, even the ad execs laughed.

2. Standoff with Office Space's Ron Livingston and Serenity's Gina Torres as hostage negotiators. Dude, who cares if it's based on a great premise and looks to be really well-written? They had me at the cast.

Here's what I'm not looking forward to:

The Winner, a super high-concept television show with Rob Corddry as a o.c.d. loser that lives at home with his parents in 1994, but has somehow become a huge success now. This is the story of how he gets there. This series is executive produced by Seth McFarlane of Family Guy fame. However, I'm not a huge Rob Corddry fan, and I'm still not after seeing this promo. His schtick still bugs me and I didn't laugh once. But maybe it will better as an actually TV Show. We'll see...

Two weeks after New York, we went to San Francisco for Memorial Day. It was cold, but lots of fun. I discovered that I still had enough of my college Chinese left to order meals, ask for chopsticks, and inquire whether or not a store carried baijiu -- a paint-peeling clear liquor that the Chinese drink.

Also, I was able to visit with Ben Jordan, a fellow playwright and programmate from my CMU days. He's a wine buyer now, and suggested a list of places for us to go during our day trip to Napa Valley. For those of you who like tasting rooms that don't look like every other tasting room on the planet. Here are his suggestions (I'm quoting from his email):

Let's see, Napa. Most of the places [have] huge, gaudy tasting rooms and they charge $10 or more for a tasting. Be prepared. I recommend sharing at the more expensive places. Here are some good places that can be fun: Robert Sinskey, Duckhorn (you sit down at a table for this tasting), Grgich, V. Sattui (the wines aren't great, but they have a picnic area that every goes to and gets drunk at), Corison (You must call to make an appointment for this place. Do it, it is worth it. Best wine you'll taste all day.) I always liked Heitz Cellars as well. They are pretty old school and some of their tasting is free, I think. If you want to see a big operation make an appointment at Cakebread.
We went to most of the places on this list, and we LOVED Corison. The atmosphere is incredibly intimate and the wine is quietly superior.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

APRIL is for Winners

Not only did I get back down to my fighting weight, but my team, the Tough Cookies actually skated a flat-track bout against the Tru$t Fund Terrors. And we won!

Now, I've never been a sore loser, but I must admit, winning is fun.

Other than that, April was also pretty boring. Mostly I anticipated my May New York trip, and worked with my friends, Steve Connell and Kalimba Bennett on the first two scripts of an online series we're developing about a group of insane artists living in L.A. -- or "regular people" as we like to call them in L.A. It's called Who You Know.

Monday, May 15, 2006

MARCH is for Aloha

Well . . .

I moved in with CH. Stop gasping, I know many of you thought I already lived with him. I guess I should really just say, I gave up the lease on my North Hollywood studio...okay, now I hear a lot of you gasping, b/c many of you had no idea I had my own apartment. Whatever, the point is I'm now boring and really, really domesticated.

I became a serious practitioner of the Cooking Light magazine. The recipes are exceedingly tasty and healthy! I don't know how they do it, but this is the first magazine subscription I've signed up for in over two years.

I finally started seriously writing Year of the Rapper/Year of the Fairytale, the full-length play I've had listed under the "Currently Writing" section of my resume for the last two years. I actually made it all the way to the end of Act 1 --

Okay, I know what you're thinking: This month may actually turn out to be more boring than February, and to be quite frank, I was beginning to think that, too, but then two things happened:


By now I've told this story about one hundred times, plus it's hard to do a really good re-enactment over a blog, so I'm just going to say this. A thief broke into the house and stole a bunch of stuff, including my cheap Forever 21 jewelry and my laptop.

Of course, I was most upset about the laptop -- mainly because it's the only high-ticket item other than my car that I've ever bought with my own money. And I don't own my car yet (four more years), but I did own my laptop, and the latest non-backed-up version of Year of the Rapper that resided there. I think stealing a laptop is a pretty heinous crime, but stealing a writer's laptop is just mean. But it the end it wasn't so bad. We got a security system, and CH found my exact same laptop on Ebay for $400. Two months later, I sometimes forget that it's not the original deal. Though I never did get the steam back on Years. Alas...

However, this home invasion was kind of made up for by


CH had a hiatus week, and I had a bunch of vacation days, so we went to Oahu. Here's how I know Hawaii is absolutely one of the best places on the face of the earth: because it rained the entire time, and I still had an amazing time and didn't want to go home.

Here are the highlights, just in case you're ever looking for things to do in Oahu on a rainy day:

Don Ho: No, I didn't know he was still alive either. But dude, he is and croaking out nightly dinner shows in Oahu. I can't explain to you how terrible this show is. The food was bad. The drinks where watered down. The show itself was completely cheesy -- so you know I loved every minute of it. Especially the "Tiny Bubbles" sing-a-long at the end.

The Imperial Palace: It's more like a the Imperial House, but the former Hawaiian royal family was really fascinating. And starting in the fall, you won't be able to go into the actual rooms any more. So if you happen to be in Oahu this summer, do take the docent-guided tour.

Mai Tai Public Service Announcement: It turns out that you don't have to sit on a beach to enjoy this drink. It's good in the rain, too. Now you know, and hopefully you won't ever let a little bad weather keep you from enjoying this ridiculously delicious drink ever again.

Onos: This is a serious hole-in-wall with authentic Hawaiian food that the locals actually eat. Delicious and filling. No wonder some of the best sumo wrestlers in the world come from Hawaii.

Cirque Hawaii: In Hawaii, you'll find a lot of people with pretty much the same backstory, "I was doing this [job] in [mainland state or some other non-paradisical place] and decided that I should do that [job] in Hawaii. Makes sense right? This is why there about a kajillion writers, living in Hawaii, and this is basically the story behind Cirque Hawaii. Two former Cirque dancers decided to do what they were doing in Hawaii. Now I had never seen a Cirque show. If I had, I think I would have appreciated this really bad imitation even more. It makes you realize what a truly amazing experience Cirque shows are, because even a really bad imitation was really enjoyable.

And if that weren't enought, the Middle-Aged White People got drunk again, and this time they did it every night. If you're dying to know what the ukulele version of "Play that Funky Music, White Boy" sounds like, dude, go to Hawaii.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

FEBRUARY is for Resolutions

Looking back on February, I realized I was still keeping up with all my resolutions, and that made me really, really boring. Anyway:

Fitness of Champions:

I exercised every day for twenty-one days, by either actually showing up at Derby Doll practice or working out for 45 minutes with Fit Tv's All Star Workout series. I lost about seven pounds in the first two weeks, but then I tapered out at about ten pounds above my goal weight, so . . . see what I mean about being boring.

Anyway, the whole story ends with the exercise habit sticking and me and CH joining a gym over Valentine's Day weekend and really committing to getting back in shape. We even began playing racquetball. And though I ended up chipping my 4-month-old glasses when I ran into a wall trying to chase after a ball (you probably thought that only happened in movies), it made me feel particularly sporting.

Penned an Office script:

While on self-improvement kick, I also penned an Office spec script. It turns out that my job is not only good for paying various bills and okay medical and dental insurance -- it can also be material.

So that was my February. All I did was exercise and write. See how boring I become when I get disciplined?

JANUARY is for Travelers


For New Years, CH and I went to Solvang, up-and-coming wine country and the setting of Sideways, the only entry on the International Merlot Makers Association's* "Worst Movies of All Time" list. While we there, we discovered a few things:

1. Your palatte actually becomes more discriminating with the more wine you taste. Which was a shock to me after the debacle that was my wine-tasting themed apartment-warming party in grad school. Yes, I did pass out, and yes, my fellow writers did end up cleaning up . . . and letting out the rest of the guests . . . and locking up . . . and putting a glass of water beside my bed . . . and taking my abjectedly embarrassed and apologetic phone calls the next morning. But listen, I've learned to sip since then.

And in Solvang I learned to spit, as in "Pwah, the currant flavoring in this wine is totally working against the oaky undertones. I shall pour the rest of this travesty into the spit bucket." You see, apparently you don't actually spit in the spit buckets, just pour the wine you don't want into them. Yeah, I was disappointed, too. I was all ready to make up for years of not chewing tobacco.

2. The best pancakes in the world are at Paula's Pancake House. Almost six months later, I'm still thinking about those thin Danish manifestations of God, kind of like Barbara Streisand thought of the impossibly handsome (back then) Robert Redford in the Way We Were. And when CH suggested going to San Francisco and Napa Valley as opposed to back to Solvang for Memorial Day 2006, my first thought was, "But how about the pancakes?" Sigh. Memories...

3. Alcohol really does make the white people dance. We ended up at a bar/lounge/fine restaurant called the Meadowlands, counting down to New Years with a bunch of middle-aged white folks hopped up on really good wine and food. And get this, the cover band was also made up of middle-aged white people, who for some reason, insisted on only singing R&B hits. I am not kidding. They even did Tony Toni Tone's "No Loot" ya'll. Needless to say, I had a FANTASTIC time, but CH still won't talk about it. Poor guy, apparently black people aren't the only ones who get embarrassed when people from our race do things that we'd rather not have people from other races seeing us do.


I made a ton of resolutions, the most important of which was to

1. Lose the twenty pounds I had gained over the last six months. It didn't help that when I went home to St. Louis for a visit, they all commented that I had gained weight. "You ain't missing no meals out there, is you?" said my Uncle Cornelius after hugging me for the first time in three years. Yeah, more on dear Uncle Cornelius below.
2. Write more. I won't even expand on this, since it's a boring resolution that's on every writer's list every year of their lives until they die.
3. Get up at five am, and do stuff with the two hours before I go to work. I was actually able to keep this up for the 21 days it takes to make a habit. I even extended it into my 21 Days of Exercise in February, but then -- oh wait that's coming up in the February blog.


It was lovely. And the eating was spectacular. Though, I could have done without Uncle Cornelius's many word-for-word re-enactments of embarrassing things I said when I was in elementary school:

UC: Remember when you was seven and you said to me, [in a voice that sounds exactly like what is is: an old black man from Mississippi doing a fairly unconvincing falsetto] "Uncle Cornelius I am the smartest kid in my class!" And I said, "Really, you the smartest--" and you was like, "Yes, I am the smartest kid in my class. Nobody else is as smart as me. They are dumb." And I go, "You already know where you going to go to college, don't you?" And you said, "Yes, I am going to go to Haaaarvard." You used to say that to me all the time. "I'm going to go to Haaarvard."

Me [severely doubting that I would roll my Harvards in such a gravelly way]: Thanks for remembering that, Uncle Neil.

UC: Oh yeah, I remember. You used to say things like that all the time.

Despite the constant reminders that I was a weirdly arrogant, super-ambitious little monster of a child before I became a completely neurotic, super-ambitious monster of an adult, I had a wonderful time.

I had to endure the non-too-subtle hints that I should wear make-up, which usually entailed one of my aunts telling me to "try on" various lipsticks. But I also got to brush up on my trash talking skills, during the monthly Friday Family Game Night during especially heated games of Mexican Train Dominoes -- Think regular dominoes on family-destroying steroids with little monoply-piece-like trains.

I also got to eat St. Louis Chinese food, which in my opinion is the best Chinese food on earth -- and honey, I've been to China. Later, while my sister and I visited our high school English teacher, mentor, and dear, dear friend Mrs. Rowan, her history professor husband told us that the St. Louis version of Chinese food was actually a regional delicacy, because it's a hybrid of Chinese and soul food. No wonder I love it so much!

The highlight of the trip was finally getting a chance to wear the "I'm the Nice One. My Sister is the Brat." T-shirt I had purchased in a youth large (apparently they're pretty big these days, b/c I had room to spare) while in Solvang. My sister glared, my cousins laughed, and my aunts all made the same comment though they saw the T-shirt seperately, "Well, obviously the opposite is true, cuz you wearing that T-shirt." Man, they always take her side. Lizzy! Lizzy! Lizzy!

Oh my God, I'm Actually Back

Dudes, I'm surprised, too. But I've gotten soooo much writing done in the months that I've left my blog unattended, that I almost feel guilty about updating it now.

Not guilty enough not to do it, but you know what I mean. Anyway, I've decided to keep this blog in real time from now on, so the next few entries are a recap of what you've missed since December.