Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rachel Dratch

Writing update: I decided to try having a drink while writing today, since nothing else has worked on the weekends. So, I had a Red Stripe, with a side of two Fruit by the Foots, of course. Anyway, I was writing, and then I decided to scrap everything I had done and pick up a different project that I had started awhile ago. So, that's what I did. I'm halfway through that one, which is decent work. Maybe I'll finish tomorrow. No more beer though. Infinity Fruit by the Foots... it's actually Fruit by the Yard. Mind blown.

I've also been running my iTunes shuffle while I write. Jermaine Dupri and Eminem are really inspiring. I guess?

After I finished Augusten Burrough's book, I picked up Rachel Dratch's new memoir, A Girl Walks into a Bar. I could not put it down. I was reading it at the intermission of the Jackson Browne concert the other night.

She talks a bit about her time on SNL, but it is mostly about her life as a forty-year-old single woman, who had to actually learn how to date people, and then she had a baby. SPOILER ALERT. The whole thing was hilarious. She tells the whole truth, even if it makes her look like a doofus, which I think is pretty brave. Doofus is a pretty good word to describe Rachel Dratch at times.

I always liked her on SNL, but now I like her a little bit more. A lot more. She hasn't had the success of Fey or Poehler, but she is just as funny. Life just dealt her different cards. Whatever, it's great, please read it.

Also, when did it start getting "hot" in Los Angeles? My whole "house" is covered in a layer of sweat. I guess we could run the air conditioning... window unit. Who are these backwards bumfucks that don't have central air???????? I'VE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE.

Op. Strake Jesuit Triple Trio Messiah songs just came on the shuffle... looks like a win-win kind of night.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jackson Browne, pt. 2

Writing update: blerg.

I saw Jackson Browne for the second time tonight. It was at the same theater as the first time, and this place is unbelievable. It's got a family, this-is-us-just-hanging-out-in-our-living-room-and-playing-music kind of feel. It's incredibly small and intimate.

Tonight's show was four hours long, and a total of seventeen musicians cycled in and out. Again, unbelievable.

I think I could live inside of tonight forever. Unbelievable.

But P.S. - just because I'm the youngest one at the show does not mean that I am the one taking pictures on my phone. No need for you to shine your flashlight at me. Check the lady behind me, SIR.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Augusten Burroughs

Writing update: Things are moving, and I am confident I will have a completed first, rough draft by the end of this week, as was my original goal. So, I'll just leave it at that.

I don't know what drugs are or what they do to you, but I assume that I am addicted to books like coke heads are addicted to blow.

I had to look up a street name for cocaine. Shows how much I was not paying attention to that Johnny Depp movie. Well, today I got my book fix with a huge hit of recent releases. Shit, do you do hits of coke? Isn't it lines? Fuck this metaphor. I'm really happy because I bought books today.

I always like reading, but summertime has, for the past 5 years or so, been especially dedicated to reading. Summer reading when it's not required is incredibly refreshing. I have a few "must reads" of the summer, you know, the classics.

Okay, I read the Sisterhood series over and over every summer. I've also added everything else by Anne Brashares because, well, I don't have a reason.

Anyway, I picked up Augusten Burroughs's new book today. He was one of the first authors I got into who wrote books for adults, like real adults, not girls in high school who think vampire romance is real love. Been there, done that, snuck into the next theater over to watch the kissing scene again.

Burroughs also further deepened my love for the memoir. David Sedaris brought me into the genre with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and then I sort of back-tracked and bought everything else he had Burroughs had written, and I've been following them ever since.

Sedaris's most recent book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, was a detour from his memoirs. The same is said for Burroughs's This is How. It is essentially a self-help book.

So far, it does not hold a candle to his other works. Although, I would never recommend that because books are flammable. SeewhatIdidthere? Still, there are certainly passages of description or succinct explanations or witty references that scream REALLY GREAT WRITING HERE, PAY ATTENTION.

And I am.

I have always thought that if I wrote a book, it would be a memoir because I think that's a framework that I am comfortable in. However, the more and more I think about it, I would actually have to be talking about other people. Burroughs talks about a woman he met on an elevator in this book. Even that amount of anonymity freaks me out. Things certainly have to get more personal when you are talking about yourself and people you know.

Plus, I'm just not that interesting. Yet. Once, I figure this whole cocaine thing out, though, best seller status. What What.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Noah Gundersen

This post makes no sense. Let me know where to send the cookie bouquet in lieu of an apology.

Writing update: Well, I've learned, again, that I cannot write on the weekend. So, I've only added a few sentences to my pilot. However, my original calendar had me finishing up a rough draft by the end of this week, which is still doable! Except I'm out of peach tea, my sleep schedule for the week is already clearly fucked up, and I'm seeing Jackson Browne on Thursday. I'll survive.

Today I found myself in two invigorating conversations with my two best friends. One was about music, and the other was about television. If I was talking to my sister, it would have been about cats... I digress.

Anyway, both conversations had me amped. I enjoy talking about these things. I am passionate about these things, so, yes, I will gladly talk to anyone who will listen for like 20 plays of "American Pie." That's an eight minute song and some change.

Also, I did a 100+ slide powerpoint on that song back in middle school, so I could literally talk about that song for like 20 plays of that song... I digress.

Again, anyway, I was so wired during and after these chats and, for some reason, the phrase "talk is cheap" popped into my head. I know the phrase means actions speak louder than words, but, today, I took them to literally mean talk is cheap entertainment. Unless it's a certain pervy kind of talking on a phone with singles in your area!!!! CALL NOW!!! That kind of talking seems like expensive entertainment. Hold on while I go shower off all the gross.

But this kind of talking with regular people is cheap, as in free. And it's invigorating and inspiring, and it's better than wasting my time on Facbeook and Twitter and Dawson's Creek fanfiction sites. Because, when you're talking to someone, they can argue with you or share something with you or teach you something and if you don't get it they can explain it or they can just yell at you. Either way, it's interactive... So, yes, apparently, I just figured out what it means to socialize. Talking, good. Cat lady, die, alone.

I think you get what I mean, though? Right? Basically, we need to get off our computers (except to talk) and our phones (except to talk) and go do things and then come back and talk about them. I hate talking. Usually.

But I do like talking about aforementioned music and television, and a certain song has been haunting me for almost a whole week. I think it's an excellent example of what it means to just talk about things. He's talking about big things, REALLY big things, but he doesn't put it in really big language. It's so simple. He's just talking.

Without any more words getting in the way: Jesus, Jesus - Noah Gunderson

Jesus, Jesus, could you tell me what the problem is
With the world and all the people in it?
Because I've been hearing stories about the end of the world,
But I'm in love with a girl, and I don't want to leave her
And the television screams with such hideous things
They're talking about the war on the radio
They say the whole thing's gonna blow, and we will all be left alone
No, we'll be dead, and we won't know what hit us

Jesus, Jesus, if you're up there, won't you hear me?
Because I've been wondering if you're listening for quite a while
And Jesus, Jesus, it's such a pretty place we live in,
And I know we fucked it up, but please be kind
Don't let us go out like the dinosaurs, or blown to bits in a third world war
There are a hundred different things I'd still like to do
I'd like to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, look up from the ground at a meteor shower,
And, maybe, even raise a family

Jesus, Jesus, there are those that say they love you,
But they have treated me so goddamn mean
And I know you said forgive them for they know not what they do
But sometimes I think they do, and I think about you
And if all the heathens burn in hell, do all their children burn as well?
What about the Muslims, and the gays, and the unwed mothers?
And what about me and all my friends, are we all sinners if we win?
Does it even matter, in the end, if we're unhappy?

Jesus, Jesus, I'm still look for answers
Though, I know that I won't find them here tonight
But, Jesus, Jesus, could you call me if you have the time?
And maybe we could meet for coffee and work it out
And maybe then I would understand what it's all about

Friday, May 4, 2012

Scarlett Johansson

Writing update: well, I am only almost done with Act One because I was invited to the midnight (aka peak writing hour) showing of The Avengers last night. So, then, naturally, today I had to make these -

Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, & Hawkeye

I can say, without a doubt, that I was impressed, blown away, surprised, and pleased by The Avengers. However, as you can see there is only one female superhero in this bunch: Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson. 

When we first see the Black Widow, she is tied to a chair while Russian baddies investigate her. Of course, she outsmarts and outmaneuvers them... and while modestly dressed! I was super excited too when her assassin suit was pleasantly feminine without being overtly sexualized. 

For the first part of the film, she is vital in bringing the team together. She is not forced to play sidekick to any of these men, and not once is she caught as the damsel in distress. There is even a scene where she faces off against the Hulk... alone. I mean, yes, I would jump at the chance to be left alone in a levitating warship with Mark Ruffalo (circa 13 Going on 30, obvs), but the Hulk? No thank you this year!

There was one scene where I thought a man had manipulated her emotions to trap her but PSYCH (do kids still say that?) she was tricking him the whole time. 

I accredit this achievement to 1. Joss Whedon for writing and directing this movie in such a way that portrayed the Black Widow as a three-dimensional, independent human being and super hero, who happens to be a woman. Whedon is not new when it comes to strong women - Buffy? And 2. Scarlett Johansson for seriously doing an amazing job with the role. Honestly, the last thing I remember her in was In Good Company, back when Topher Grace was relevant. I loved her in that, but then I didn't think twice about her again. Until, now. Check plus. Check plus. 

Still, my point was that she is the only woman in this cast, and there aren't a whole lot of other women popping up in superhero movies either. This summer will see the release of The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man (18th sequel), and Men In Black III, none of which are carried by women. The Batman flick has Anne Hathaway in it as Cat Woman, but I don't have the highest hopes for that part. Christopher Nolan makes great movies, but strong female characters aren't exactly what he's known for. In Inception, Juno just followed Leo DiCaprio around the whole time, and this is old Leo we're talking about here, folks.

Anyway, there are talks of releasing a Black Widow movie since the reviews so far around The Avengers seem to be so positive. The Hulk already has two pictures (both unnecessary), same for Iron Man, Thor is getting a second, and Captain America has the one. It's about time. 

All I can say is that if and when the movie is released, I pray to the mighty demigod Thor that it is as well conceived, written, produced, and performed as most of the other the films in this franchise. Female superhero movies have, so far, been mostly nothing but camp and sex... Writing down Sex Camp in my idea journal - probably going to be an awesome summer B-movie starring Jonah Hill. 

One day down the road, when I am somebody in this business, I would like to write a female superhero movie, or even a series, an original one. Whedon could direct it. I'm not picky.

Well, it's closing in on that magical writing hour, so I'm grabbing some Oikos yogurt, courtesy of John Stamos, and some peach tea, and I'm heading back to my pilot.

Later Days... remember The Weekenders?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Junior Seau

Writing update: Act One is underway for my pilot and should be done tomorrow. I know I'm only two days into May, but I'm kicking ass on my calendar to-do list. 29 days to go!

Now, I was going to post about Malcolm again, and I probably will next time, but Junior Seau's death has really been hanging on me all day. When I found out, I was incredibly saddened, and that surprised me because I am not usually one to make a big to-do over the deaths of "celebrities." So, I've been thinking on it all day, trying to figure it out. I can't pinpoint whatever is is exactly that has me so affected, so my best guess is that it's everything, all of it.

It's because suicide is hard for a lot of people to wrap their heads around. It's because after being one of the best in his sport for two decades, at only 43, he decided he didn't have anything else to live for. What drove him there could have been injuries from the sport he loved so much. It could have been anything. We can guess, and maybe Seau even left some answers for us, but we can't ever really know why someone makes a decision like that.

It's also the words of his peers, the testaments to his greatness and to his heart, that have me overwhelmed. Eric Olsen told a story about how Seau let him tackle him in front of all the other kids at a football camp when he was in high school. All the kids cheered for "a chubby kid who didn't even know if he liked football." Now the chubby kid plays for the New Orleans Saints. It takes someone special to inspire something like that, to change someone's life like that. Drew Brees called Seau "the greatest teammate a young guy could ask for." That young guy is now a Super Bowl Champion and one of the most respected and talented athletes in the game. I've gathered that Seau has left his mark on the game indefinitely, and those who knew him will continue to be shaped by his legacy.

It's also what Seau means to me on a personal level. Back when I was ten years old I had a PC game (remember those?) called Backyard Football. The game had kid versions of twelve NFL players, but I only remember three specifically - Brett Favre, Drew Bledsoe, and Junior Seau. Seau was the biggest "kid" and also the best player on defense. I was probably too old for the game because I quickly figured out that if you had Favre throwing the ball and Seau laying people out, you could beat the computer every time. Still, Seau was one of the first professional players whose name I recognized outside of the Dallas Cowboys. I didn't follow his career by any means, but a mention of "Buddy" always piqued my interest. He became a tab in my mental library of all things football, a sport that has been a sizable piece of my life. Oh yea, and he was better at laying people out in real life than he ever was on my computer.

It was just a computer game, but I remember it, and I will probably remember it for the rest of my life. I certainly cannot say that about many other things that have crossed my path in my 22 years. That makes it something of value. Junior Seau is something of value to me, although I won't ever be able to define or quantitate it. He is someone of value to a great number of people, and, to some, he is someone of great value. To state the obvious, he is missed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Professor Charles Francis Xavier

Writing update: I am very sleepy. So, that short story I was going to write is for a certain fellowship. Let's call it X. Yes, it's only for mutants. I started to fill out the application for X, and it asks why you want to work for X, and, honestly, I don't. I know that I'm supposed to be good at writing, i.e. bullshitting things, but I really wasn't feeling it. So, I have an outline and beginning of a short story that I will finish up this next weekend, even though I don't plan on sending it to X anymore. Maybe I'll change my mind. Maybe, if I take some X pills (?), everything will suddenly become clear to me, and I can bullshit about wanting to work for X until I stop melting into the couch. Look, all I know about ecstasy, I learned from the Dawson's Creek episode aptly titled "Great Xpectations." In other news, I polished up my Cougar Town and sent that off, and I have started writing my pilot.

Today, I finished this:

This is a clear example of the age-old equation: 0 shame + infinity time = youtube.

Whatever, I really like the people that work on the show, and whether I ever get to work there or not, I'd love for them to stay in business for another season. So, do as this clip strongly suggests and watch the show. Okay? Thanks, thanks.

There's obviously no theme to this post, so I'm just going to bring up something else I feel like bringing up. Last night, I had pretty action packed dreams. One of my friends was shot, and, so, this guy and I had to try to figure out who the shooter was. Right before I woke up, my dreams became a promo for "next night's dreams." It literally said, "Only two nights left before the story comes to. a. dramatic. conclusion." The periods represent all the dramatic pauses where pictures of people in my dreams flashed on "screen." And then the promo ended with the sound of a gunshot. 

This is really interesting to me because I would love it if, in fact, when I go to sleep tonight, I get to see the continuation of the story. I know that's not how it works, but that would be awesome. Television even for my sleeping mind! I really want to know what happens too because this "episode" ended with the guy helping me discovering that the guy helping my friend is actually the one who shot her (!!!!). If that isn't a May Sweeps storyline, then I don't know what is. 

Now, the promo did come after I had already woken up once, and then I went back to sleep. Is my conscious mind so television-obsessed that I shaped my dreams into a serial drama? This is kind of cool because when I woke up, I finished the story how I though it would end up. But, what if my conscious mind is so television-obsessed that my subconscious created the perfect dream for me? Television all the time, always! Either way, I woke up from the dream feeling like I had just watched an episode of Castle meets Grey's Anatomy.... so Rizzoli & Isles, but with more dudes.

Whatever, now I have a reason to look forward to sleep other than sleep.