Thursday, September 30, 2004

You know what's funny?

All of a sudden it's cool to like The Brown Bunny. Remember that movie? Roger Ebert called it the worst film in the history of Cannes, and people everywhere were waiting to find out just how awful it was. The butt of every joke told in Hollywood for several months in 2003, it seemed to be destined for a future on Mystery Science Theater. It inspired a huge, hilarious, and mostly one-sided war of words between Ebert and star/writer/director/editor/composer/janitor/caddie Vincent Gallo.

Several months pass. The film actually gets a theatrical release, which is trumpeted by an appropriately sleazy billboard on Sunset Boulevard (never actually saw it, but I'm assuming it was right across from the Hustler Superstore). News comes that Gallo has re-edited the film, cutting its length significantly and apparently somehow making it less pretentious. Gallo and Ebert even sat down and settled their differences, of all things.

Now look at the reviews! Ebert likes it. Salon likes it. The Village Voice... well, as usual, you can't tell what they're thinking without a map. Because some things never change. But the movie actually has a not-all-that-terrible score of 48 on MetaCritic, and that's about 48 points higher than most people would have guessed last year.

It's official. The Brown Bunny is the cinematic equivalent of that kid in middle school who everyone made fun of so relentlessly that he was scared to even go to class, but then he moved away for a while and when he came back in high school he looked totally different and people whispered that he dealt pot and the cool kids started hanging out with him and he even had a girlfriend who went to another school.

The Vest of Authority

I am wearing a bright-orange vest right now. As you might imagine, it looks just smashing over my taupe dress shirt and multicolored tie. It also color-coordinates perfectly with the lime-green flashlight I will soon be holding.

Yes, I have been roped into being a fire safety monitor. Fortunately, I occupy a pretty low position on the fire safety chain of command. I'm the backup stairway monitor, which just means I have to either (a) stand in the stairway during the fire drill and do nothing, or (b) run downstairs a couple flights and tell the roll call person if there's anyone still in the stairway.

Anyway, the important thing is that I get to wear the vest. There is a fire drill scheduled shortly, and because I am wearing the vest, people will listen to me. It is the Vest of Authority. I wear it proudly.

All shall bow before the Vest.

Oh, and don't forget the Flashlight of Truth. And the Clipboard of Eternal.... uh, Clipboardness.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Diet Vanilla Pepsi is good. The Pepsi part tastes diet, but the vanilla part doesn't.

Where was I?

No idea. I'll pick this up later.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Places the five ties I have worn to work thus far have ended up

Back seat of my car (2)
Zipper pocket in my laptop carrying case (2)
Back on the tie rack (1)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Why DirecTV will probably own my heart forever

I have had free Showtime on DirecTV for the last few months as part of some kind of promotion. This has enabled me to watch Dead Like Me, pretty much one of the best TV shows ever created, in addition to.... well, okay, there's really nothing of value on Showtime besides Dead Like Me. But if I were required to pay for Showtime just to watch that one show, I would gladly do so. I mean, I paid for HBO just for Curb Your Enthusiasm, and that's only ten half-hour episodes a season, whereas DLM has something like 13 hour-long episodes. Anyway, I came home tonight eagerly anticipating this week's episode. But when I turned on the Tivo, it was nowhere to be found. Turns out my free run of Showtime just expired. I started to wonder if I could re-order Showtime in time to watch the second airing at 10. Would I need to call them? I never call DirecTV. I have no idea what the number is. So I order it via the website, and I get a message saying "Your new programming will be available in a few minutes." Score! About ten seconds later I flip the channel to Showtime and it's ALREADY ON. With 90 minutes to spare until Dead Like Me. I... I don't know what else I can... oh, crap. I promised myself I wouldn't cry.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


Opinions on new fall TV shows

Father of the Pride - meh
Joey - blech
Lost - kick-ass
Veronica Mars - see Lost
CSI: NY - so good I forgot to watch it

Records I need to look for the next time I'm at Amoeba

Dire Straits - Making Movies
Bonnie Tyler - Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire
Journey - Escape
Dead or Alive - Youthquake
The B52's - self-titled
Violent Femmes - self-titled
The Bangles - Different Light
New Order - Substance
The Cure - The Head on the Door
The Pretenders II (a good-sounding copy)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Today's story

This is the story I wrote as kind of a prequel to my screenplay. To paraphrase the late Tom Lehrer, if my work inspires just one person to say something nasty to a friend or strike a loved one, it will all have been worthwhile.


Suitable for framing

That's the euphemism I just came up with a few hours ago. It's used to describe a record that sounds so awful that the only thing to do with it is put it in one of those Urban Outfitters record frames and hang it up. (This idea was stolen from Eti, who has been buying cheap albums at Amoeba just for the purpose of framing them.) The first record to fit this description is The Pretenders II. It's very disappointing because there are a lot of good songs on that album, including "Talk of the Town." Then again, you pay one dollar for a record, you take your chances. Actually, you take your chances with any of them. The $9 Boston album I'm listening to now doesn't sound anywhere near as good as the $3 Fleetwood Mac one I was listening to before.

This is why records are so much more fun than CDs. You never know what they're going to sound like.

A resurgence?

One lone termite dropped down into the kitchen light fixture last night and started wandering around. However, it couldn't find a way out of the fixture and into the kitchen, where Stuart would have happily devoured it. I was rooting for the thing to make it out, I had Stuart at the ready on the counter, but it just kept walking around in the light and fluttering its wings in frustration.

Next time, Gadget. Next time.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The play

The Space-Time Continuum Can Be A Real Bitch Sometimes

The Employment Blog

Yeah, so my first day as a UCLA worker bee went pretty well. Aside from having to say "Corporate, Foundation and Research Relations" every time I answer the phone (say it fast enough and it sounds like a line from a Lewis Carroll poem), I think I'm going to like it there.

It's still a little surreal to just all of a sudden have a job and, you know, do things during the daylight hours of the day to earn money. It probably won't be long before my couch and TV show up at the office and get all in my face, like, "Dude, where the hell have you been?"

Also, I discovered a new use for a tie. At lunch, a couple drops of pasta sauce splattered themselves onto my shirt, and I was freaked out until I realized that I just needed to shift the tie over a couple inches and, voila, the stain was concealed.


The turntable situation was resolved today, not by purchasing a new turntable but by purchasing a DJ mixer to go between the turntable and the receiver. I don't really have room for the mixer, but it's kind of cool and it has the little rows of green lights to indicate sound levels. Whatever those are called. So I'm listening to Cyndi Lauper as I blog. (That's how people blogged in 1985. Except they blogged on stone tablets or something.)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Original Material

Hi there. I can't believe I admitted to buying some of those records. Please remember that most of them were a dollar. But I actually do like all those artists. There's no point in denying it. I also like some more contemporary, less embarrassing acts, but it's not as much fun to buy their records.

Anyway, here's a story. With this new blog, I plan to start throwing some fiction into the mix. Because... well, just because.

Later on, if you clean your room and finish your vegetables, maybe I'll post a play up here too.


After today's visit to Amoeba, I now have one pretty bad-ass record collection. I have nothing to play it on (the turntable I just got at Guitar Center won't work with my receiver), but I hopefully will soon.

Here are the records I bought today, in no particular order.

The Who - Face Dances
The Cars - Heartbeat City
The Pretenders - II
The Knack - Get the Knack
America - History (Greatest Hits)
Kim Carnes - Mistaken Identity
Peter Gabriel - So
Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna
Men at Work - Business as Usual
Paul Simon - self-titled
Steve Winwood - Back in the High Life
Heart - self-titled
Boston - self-titled
Madonna - self-titled, 1st pressing w/ extended version of "Burning Up"
Fleetwood Mac - self-titled
Duran Duran - Rio
Duran Duran - Seven and the Ragged Tiger
U2 - Under a Blood Red Sky (live)
Madonna - Like a Virgin
Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
Blondie - The Best of Blondie

Most of these were a dollar. Some were two or three dollars; the Madonna one was $20, but for that price I figured it must be a pretty good copy. (There's a solid chance I'm wrong about that. I'll find out when I have a functional turntable.)

An Explanation of the Title

I am bad with directions. Anyone who has had the pleasure of being chauffered by me at any time, in any city, going any place, knows this very well. Some people pick up city layouts like that: they're new in town, you drive them around for a while, they watch the street signs, and after a few days they have no trouble getting anywhere on their own. Those people are as alien to me as personal hygiene is to Courtney Love. When I lived in the Boston suburbs, I studiously avoided driving anywhere in the city because the outcome was always the same: (1) print out useless Mapquest directions; (2) get lost and drive around aimlessly for between 30 minutes and 3 hours; (3) fail to get anywhere near the destination; (4) finally stumble upon a way to get home; (5) consider myself lucky for not ending up in Wisconsin. In L.A. it's a lot easier, but that doesn't mean I don't get lost on a fairly regular basis.

Hence the title of the blog. Also, I wanted something that was only a few words and easy to remember/type in. So there you have it. Let us never speak of this again.