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.