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Samoa's disaster conjured halfway between Indonesia tsunami sad and Katrina sad

Samoa's disaster conjured halfway between Indonesia tsunami sad and Katrina sad

The tsunami that hit American Samoa a couple days ago has been very traumatic. It’s not because I’m shaken over the deaths or live near the coast and worry about people I know in California. Instead, the problem is that I can’t figure out how much patriotic sadness I’m supposed to express for an American territory.

I feel like I’m supposed to show a lot more sadness than if the disaster had hit Sri Lanka. But not as much sadness that I would show if the disaster hit Florida. I mean, they are kind of American, right? So am I supposed to be kind of sad?

This is my major problem with colonization; how do you empathize with some sort of brethren, who are technically your countrymen, but it has an asterisk with it?

I think that this is the middle ground of sadness that England must have felt with it dominated the world with its Empire. If only they blogged in the 18th Century, we would have a reference point for how someone in England felt if someone in Australia was eaten by a shark. Probably sadder than if it happened in the Philippines, but not nearly as sad as if it had happened in Leeds. Although I think people wouldn’t act sad, so much as very surprised if someone died of a shark attack in Leeds, not only because there are no sharks in the North Channel, but because Leeds is land locked.

So what can I do to half-ass show my support for my semi-countrymen in Samoa without selling out real Americans (aha! I just discovered what Palin meant when she referred to real Americans. It’s non-American Samoans, those impostures)?

Could I hang an American flag on my lawn with 50-and-a-half stars? How will they know I’m not referring to Puerto Rico? We could send them some of our top recent immigrants to try and restart their infrastructure? It’s really a bit of a jam.

And then I realized how I could show my support for American Samoa. I went on to google maps and, for the first time, I found out where the hell American Samoa is located. I went to Wikipedia and found out (kind of) what American Samoa is. So now, when people ask me if I heard about the disaster there, I can say, “Yes, and the capital is Pago Pago.” It makes it sound like I care, but I’m not selling out real America. And with that, my adorable little American colonists, I wish you good luck.

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Look close to see the actress to MTV reality to porn career arc

Look close to see the actress to MTV reality to porn career arc

When I moved to L.A., I wasn’t sure why the San Fernando Valley existed. I know it’s cheaper than living in L.A. and you can get a backyard and crappy neighbors, but can’t you do that anywhere without also having to deal with the traffic, heat, forest fires and having to tell people that you live in the Valley?

But then I was flipping around TV and I came across an MTV hidden camera prank show (the name doesn’t matter because they’re all the same) and I uncovered the reason that the San Fernando Valley exists. It’s a gold mine – no, a prime breeding pool – for wastes of life to star on reality shows.

If we didn’t have the Valley, we wouldn’t have MTV, VH1, Noggin, E!, Spike, Fuse, The Learning Channel and all the offshoots of those networks. If we didn’t have people from the Valley, there would be no one susceptible to hiding cameras in a fake art gallery and having someone walk around naked and see the Valley bro get weirded out on camera because he doesn’t know if it’s art or gay.

And all the dating show syndicates would be made null. Who could we put on a blind date, have them sign a waiver that they won’t read, then add air bubbles that make jokes about their thoughts just seconds before they actually say those thoughts? Who could we give $100 to try and date a total stranger by dating her mom first? Who will go on a date with three other guys as a competition? Who will get punched in the balls for $20 because he needs his skateboard repaired?

But the real value to the Valley isn’t just that they can live out all those career dreams by going to MTV.com’s casting page and finding twenty shows they can be humiliated on. It’s that after they have their dozen fifteen-minutes of fame and no one wants them for cable anymore, all these people live ten minutes away from the largest porn studios in America.

It’s not just that Valley gives us an entire population to laugh at and endless parking lots where we can film them. But it’s that they proceed to cover up their inadequacies by joining the porn industry. And porn is responsible for both the Internet’s success and stress relief that prevents serial killers.

So go ahead and laugh at the Valley and all its nothingness and the fact that there is nothing to do north of Ventura Blvd. and that its sole contribution to newsworthy events is by telling people where the shelters are after its forest fires and earthquakes.

But try and watch TV without watching their helpful contributions to society. Who will get pranked, who will get humiliated and who will make an ass of themselves because fame is just on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains? Laugh all you want at the Valley, but as a culture, we are nothing without it.

A bad guy clan of douche bags

A bad guy clan of douche bags

Why is it that every time John Travolta plays a bad guy, instead of looking evil and menacing, he looks like he’s a mid-level executive in the mid- to late-1990s experiencing a textbook mid-life crisis?

It’s always the standard play-by-play for how to enter your 50s in complete denial. He either shaves his head to try and play the baldness off as cool or grows it out too long in back while everyone else in the office is on Google Chat saying how much of an idiot he looks like. Then he tops it off with some retarded facial hair that he read about in Wired magazine when he’s really just hoping it will draw some attention away to the terrible decisions he made with the hair on top of his head. As though people will think the facial hair is so idiotic that they won’t comment on how stupid his hair looks.

Then he tops it off with overpriced sunglasses that he saw a character wear in a movie and some jewelry (because that’s what the kids do!) and you have movie after movie of John Travolta looking like a fumbling idiot instead of a menacing bad guy. Swordfish, Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3 (the original of which came out three years before Saturday Night Fever) and the upcoming From Paris With Love, which will be out of theaters three days after it opens.

Which is why I don’t understand why they don’t make him a world-conquering bad guy who is motivated by his mid-life crisis. This would be the role of a lifetime for John Travolta. Let’s say you have a guy who finds out that all his coworkers say he’s the joke of the office behind his back (inciting incident, thrilling!). And to get revenge, not only does he leave his wife and then fail to pick up anyone without buying a fast car to trick women into bed with him, but he sets out to take over the world motivated by his desire to have people think that he’s cool.

What I’m saying is that John Travolta could engineer an entire version of The Matrix so that humans are all unconscious and being farmed to power this company while they’re all in a dream land that makes them think John Travolta is cool.

Finally we would have a role where his retarded goatees and bald hat and trying to look cool while being in a poorly-staged car chase would fit perfectly. Martin Lawrence co-stars as the wise-cracking friend who’s going through the same thing but approaches it with humor and appeals to the entire race of people that would never see a John Travolta movie. Gold.

Does Johnson & Johnson Shampoo's no-tear promise refer to the sex?

Does Johnson & Johnson Shampoo's no-tear promise refer to the sex?

Everyone knows that sex in the shower is overrated as it is. Someone is always freezing, there’s too many soapy chemicals around that don’t have that Johnson & Johnson no-tears promise (unrelated to the sex), you can always slip and get into some Final Destination-type hilarity injury. But to compound that is if you make the awful decision to go down on the girl while you’re in the shower.

I don’t know if it’s the cascade of the water, the angle, the position of your face or head, but if you get the wrong volume of water flowing in the wrong direction, then I think that is how you can waterboard yourself in the shower.

You feel like you’re drowning, water is pouring over your face, there’s a light covering over your nose so you’re not sure if you can breathe, but you can’t leave because that makes you seem unmanly. It constantly feels like you’re drowning and you don’t have any say in the matter, basically you are being waterboarded.

So then the real question then becomes Is there a way that women can use this as a form of torture to gain information?

Guys are already doing this so that we can get something in return in the first place, so how can girls leverage this more to the advantage of the American people? The solution would appear to be that we send in American girls to remote areas of Pakistan to rope potential terrorists into long-term relationships.

They get a little closer, the sex gets a little wilder, and within a few weeks, we’ve got the Taliban right where we want him. And the genius of this plan is that it wouldn’t be torture at all because he’s waterboarding himself by choice.

The Taliban would think that they’re going to get something in return later, so they go down on the girl and, in effect, waterboard themselves. Then they realize that it would be unchivalrous to expect reciprocation, so they’re now in this quandary where they are being water boarded and they’re going to have to do more for the girl in order to get something in return. And through this torture, that’s when our spies could ask where their friends hang out when he says that he’s “Just going for a beer.” The terrorist, thinking that she’s building up trust so that she can justify a blow job later, then reveals the location of the terrorist training camp.

And that’s how you win the war on terror and Afghan body odor at the same time.

Check it out everyone. Very cool stuff. This is the new movie by Adam Goldberg (Untitled) and she plays his mother. She’s in it very briefly but you can see her at seconds 15 and 57 into the trailer. Very creepy, by the way, that the second after my mom appears on screen, his “son” in the film has sex with his girlfriend. This is weird. Check it out anyway.

This could be tampered down with...

This could be tampered down with...

this.

this.

By looking at the sky in Los Angeles the last couple days, either the world is about to end, or we are missing out on what could be the best integrated promotion in the history of cinema. Has anyone else noticed the exact parallels between the fiery red plumes of smoke caused by the San Gabriel fires, and the ominous red world that preludes a downpour of pancakes?

Columbia and Sony Animation are missing a brilliant chance to not only raise awareness, but also to feed stranded families and people who are guarding their homes against both the rage of an unstoppable forest fire and french toast falling from the sky.

What if instead of dropping the fire-retardant moisture from 747s, Columbia Pictures sponsors the airplanes to actually drop spaghetti and meatballs from the reddened sky? This solves numerous problems: Columbia pays for some of the costs to control the fire, they’ll make up the expenses with the opening week gross thanks to the clever marketing campaign, the fire itself will be stamped down and delicious, and stranded firefighters will have food readily available.

Maybe you could argue that it wouldn’t work because Italian food is fattening, but you can’t have it both ways people!

The studios are taking a beating with decreased DVD sales, pirating, higher costs and star-fees, so it’s going to take this kind of outside-the-box thinking to save the film industry. They have to look for every opportunity in Los Angeles’s natural ecology of trying to destroy everything living in the basin and see how it can integrate into half the movies in development.

Some would say that Los Angeles is cloudy from a smoke-plume from a forest fire burning hundreds of thousands of acres and damaging homes and taking lives, Sony would say that it’s cloudy, but with a chance of meatballs.

Stay hungry.

Can't One Alum Donate a New Copy Machine?

Can't One Alum Donate a New Copy Machine?

There’s like one day every few months where toiling away like a douchey L.A. stereotype by sitting in Insomnia Cafe writing on a pirated Final Draft 7, having no money, no social life, living in a worthless city and going back to undergrad when I’m uncomfortably old for it, can be slightly justified.

So, fuck it, for once I want to brag. A TV pilot I wrote is a finalist in a screenwriting competition: http://pageawards.net and it feels fucking fantastic whether it wins or not.

As in maybe, just maybe, ditching a kickass Astoria apartment (36th Street stop, $700/month, my own bathroom and my own balcony), regular temp work in Manhattan that paid over $20/hour and the thing that makes New York best of all – New York girls live there, for the cultural wasteland of L.A. might not have been the worst choice I could have made.

And another thing is that I’m going to argue that my jubilation today is a case for pessimism. Because I had discounted myself so much and forgotten about the script entirely and wrote it off as just another stack of papers to the “learning experience” pile, I was even more happy when I found out that it’s doing well. If I was optimistic about it and expected it to get there, I would either fail and be let down, or succeed and be happy but not thrilled.

But what if I keep writing and the scripts get a little bit better with each one and something gets sold some day and with enough work and focus and good ideas I can actually become a working writer.

Keep the expectations low.

But holy shit man.

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