Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Bad Day for Art Films

Wow, this has been a bad start to the week for fans of artsy foreign films. Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni both died within about 24 hours of each other. I have to admit, it doesn't really sadden me that much, mostly because I assumed they were both already dead. I can picture a lot of scrawny film school students smoking thin cigarettes toasting these two legends over espressos at any local coffee house that isn't Starbucks and basically acting like they're better than you. Granted, I haven't encountered nearly as many Antonioni or Bergman disciples as I have Kubrick disciples, but I'm sure they're out there, telling their friends why any movie that is popular is worthless. Let's face it, I respect these guys' work and I can see the artistry in it, but it is pretty damned pretentious. While I like The Seventh Seal, I can't say that it's something I'll watch over and over again. It's more of an appreciation than an enjoyment. That's pretty much how I feel about most "art" films. 2001 is a gorgeous, brilliant movie, but I can't say that I really liked watching it, per se. I think this comes down to the difference between "film" and "movie." One is art, the other is entertainment. This is not to say that the two are mutually exclusive. Many movies are also films and vice versa. There are plenty of "films" that manage to be highly enteraining, and many "movies" resonate on a higher level (Dr. Strangelove comes to mind, as does Brokeback Mountain and most Charlie Kauffman movies). I don't know, I don't seem to have a point to be making here. I'm just rambling. I guess what I'm trying to say is: It looks like Ingmar Bergman wasn't as good a chess player as the Knight he created in Seventh Seal. Talk to you guys later.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Playing Catch-up

Hey there, everybody! Sorry I disappeared for a couple of days, but I'm back and ready to catch everyone up on my goings on. For the better part of last week and this weekend, I've been fighting a pretty awful cold. This thing just refuses to go away. I feel good now, for the most part, but my head is still very congested. My boss suggested pumping warm saltwater through my nose and sinus cavity, an idea which scares the bejesus out of me. I think it's an irrational fear, but I just have a feeling that it would pool at the base of my brain and turn me into Forrest Gump or something, like a reverse Flowers for Algernon. I'll just sit here feeling like my head is underwater for another couple of days, thank you.
So, let's see, what's happened since last you saw your hero (me)? I went with both of the guys who were my college roommates to see The Simpsons Movie on Saturday. The Simpsons is the single defining cultural work of my generation. The movie didn't disappoint. It was like 4 very good episodes of the TV show strung together. A lot of the jokes worked really well, and the ones that didn't weren't terrible. The whole theater seemed to be enjoying it. I can't wait for the DVD to see all the stuff they cut out. Now, my former roommates and I had our Simpsons rituals. My freshman dorm-mate, Mike (his blog's linked on the right side of this one), and I barely talked for a year. It's not that we didn't like each other, but we didn't really become friends until we moved into our own places. But, we did connect on cartoons. Sunday nights we'd watch King of the Hill and The Simpsons (and Futurama if it was on, if memory serves), then turn to Comedy Central and watch The Critic, Dr. Katz, and Duckman. It was our common ground and it has served us well. My other roommate, Josh, and I based the ritual around entire Sundays, especially in football season. During the afternoon games, we would order two pizzas (always Pizza Hut, often P'zones if they were available) and eat one during football and the other during Simpsons. After football season, the pizzas were just for The Simpsons. Neither one of these routines was broken very often, and even with the slightly lower quality of recent Simpsons seasons, they were good times. So, the movie, for us, was a huge deal. And we all left happy. That's as good a review as I think I can give.
Yesterday, I took Melissa out to dinner to celebrate her birthday, which is tomorrow. I wanted to take her to a Japanese Teppan Yaki steak house (like Benihana). Now, in Atlanta, every strip mall has one of these places. They're everywhere. LA apparently isn't as fond of them. I found a total of 3 in the valley: Benihana in Encino (too expensive), some place (Shogun?) in Pasadena, and Mori in Glendale, where we ate. It was damn good. I'd never had lobster on a hibachi before, but it worked really well. I want one of those hibachi tables installed in my house when I'm filthy rich. Every time I go to one of these places, I'm struck by how similar the routine is no matter where you are. The chef cracks an egg on a spatula, he tosses a shrimp you're supposed to catch in your mouth, he builds an onion volcano, etc. Where do these guys train? I picture a place liken Kitchen Stadium from (the original) Iron Chef and a ton of recruits sloppily tossing knives and eggs in the air, cutting off their ears and whatnot. I always imagine a kung-fu montage of these guys training set to the "You're the Best" song from The Karate Kid. Always cracks me up.
Finally, I have a new love in my life, and I don't even own it yet: I am dying for a new Apple MacBook. I've been obsessing over this for a while now (as is my wont) and doing a TON of research (as is also my wont). I had thought about getting a MacBook Pro because I like the bigger screen, the option of matte screen, and the aluminum case; but I couldn't justify spending nearly twice as much for computing power I wouldn't need. That left me with one decision- black or white. Initially, it was no contest. All I wanted was black. But, if I were to build an identical white one, it would cost $125 less. Why should I pay $125 for a different color? Also, many of the reviews I read said that fingerprints and smudges are more obvious on the black one and that the white one is easier to clean. That's worth something. So the black is more manly. Bah. White is more futurey and it matches my Ipod and Wii and Nintendo DS. I'm man enough to not need a black computer to prove it. Now, comes the hard part- the wait. Apple is releasing OSX 10.5 Leopard in October. If I buy a computer now, I'll have to pay an additional $150 to upgrade when it comes out. I've tried very hard to convince myself that this isn't a big deal, but it is. So, I'll probably be waiting two months to buy my computer. If the wait doesn't kill me first.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why Must You Turn My Office Into a House of LIES?!

Ok, so it's Dentist!Part 2: Electric Boogaloo today. Since none of my five readers "got" the last reference, I made today's headline a little less obscure...If you're from my generation. Just so you all know, the previous "Is it safe?" title comes from the Dustin Hoffman/Laurence Olivier movie "Marathon Man." Olivier plays an old Nazi who tortures Hoffman's character. At one point, he performs dental surgery on Hoffman without any painkillers. In a different scene, he isolates Hoffman in a dark room and repeats "Is it safe?", driving him mad. So, yeah, you had to work for that one.
So, today's dental appointment was pretty much just like the last one, except they used WAY more Novocaine this time (the spell checker on this computer won't take away the red squiggly line unless I capitalize Novocaine, so I will). I don't know that it's possible, really, but somehow I was more numb. The left side of my face was just plain dead until about 12:30. I felt like the Elephant Man. In fact, if I closed the working side of my mouth and said "I am not an animal! I'm a human being!", it was a pretty good impression. Made my boss laugh. I also have a slight cold right now, so that just added to my suffering. You have no idea how hard it is to clear your throat when you can't even feel have of your mouth.
That's about all for me today. But one more thing- Lindsay Lohan, what the hell? You're a pretty talented actress and you had the potential to be SO hot. What the hell? It doesn't matter if the coke's not yours, you're still not allowed to have it. Do the time, and pull yourself together. HAVE SOME DIGNITY! What the hell?

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Busy Weekend

Well, after a beautiful and thoroughly tiring wedding and reception in Malibu on Friday, I seemed to be poised on the edge of a dull weekend. I was mostly wrong about that. I can't think of much significant that actually happened, but I was so deeply entrenched in the wizarding world that it felt like I was terribly busy. That's right, I have finished the final Harry Potter book. I also went and saw Order of the Phoenix yesterday morning. It was entertaining if not entirely as compelling as the last two movies. Still, I enjoyed it quite a lot and look forward to seeing how the last two books play out on the screen (especially seeing more of Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix). As for the new book, I found it entirely satisfying. It was dark, it was intense, it was exciting and you really get the feeling that these characters are in danger. It made this one even harder to put down than the previous installments. I was impressed with Rowling's guts to just go out and tell her story, not pulling any punches, and not treating the readers, who are still mostly children, as if they were children. This is a very grown up book with grown up characters and grown up consequences. At the end, I was sad to put the book down, partly because I just couldn't think of any questions. Deathly Hallows effectively answered everything I had wanted answered. A fitting end to the book series that will undoubtedly define this generation. And now for the major spoiler: The last chapter reveals that all of Hogwarts is encased in a snow globe, and the entire series has been in the mind of a small autistic boy who is looking at it (HAH! Take that "St. Elsewhere"!). Seriously, though, I won't tell you any story details. Hell, most of you probably know them yourself by now. It's a great book. But...you don't have to take my word for it...
Sorry, I thought some kids were going to come on and give reviews of the book. Once again I have proven that I am no Levar Burton.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Barry Bonds is a Giant Headed Coward

I'm sitting here watching the Cubs play the Giants on my computer, and I have just watched Barry Bonds hit his second home run of the game. This puts him at 753* home runs, only 2* shy of Hank Aaron. And I'm pissed. I said it in the title and I'll say it again here: Barry Bonds is a God-Damned Coward.
I base this opinion on a lot of things. I'll start with the less obvious reason. This is the fourth game of a four game series against the Cubs. It is also the first time Barry has been in the lineup for the series. "Coincidentally," the Cubs' starting pitcher was Ted Lilly, whom Bonds has hit two home runs off of in the past. Barry hadn't had any success against the previous Cubs pitchers in the series, so he conveniently managed to have a leg injury for the first 3 games. Now he's miraculously better because he's facing an "easier" pitcher. That's just chicken shit. You don't get to pick the pitchers you get to face. Play the game like a man instead of hiding in the dugout, scared that you might not get a home run this game.
Then there's the big thing: the steroids. Deny it all you want, Barry, nobody's fooled. Not even a little. The press is praising you to avoid any slander lawsuits from your lawyers and your fellow players won't say anything because of the so-called "dugout code." But the fans, except for the nimrods in San Francisco who would support their team if they were playing with aluminum bats, aren't fooled. You can claim that you've never tested positive, but that's not the point. Baseball's tests were never good in the past, and besides, you're implicated with a company whose sole purpose was to find steroids that couldn't be detected. The fact that you've never been caught just means you can afford better steroids than the common man. It's as plain as the zits on your back and the face on your giant head that you're juicing. Man up and admit to it.
And that leads me to another point- you weren't good before you started taking steroids, Barry, you were GREAT. If you had never inject horse hormones into your ass, we'd still be talking about you as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, players to play the game. But that wasn't enough for you. You were too scared that someone might hit more home runs than you so you turned to steroids. You already had everything and you decided that it wasn't enough. You were always a jerk, but I could deal with that. You became a criminal and a cheater, and that's not cool. What kind of message are you sending to kids, especially African-American kids? "The only way you succeed is if you play dirty, kids, so break the law as long as it helps you out."
Which brings us to another issue- race. You hide behind the race card every chance you get. "People don't want me to break the home run record because I'm black." That's pure bullshit and cowardice. People didn't want Hank Aaron to break the home run record because he was black. He got hate mail everyday, probably 90% of it racially motivated. He received death threats and had every right to be scared for his life. But he went out there and played the game and broke the record honestly. Hank Aaron is an American hero. The fact that you would try to use race as an excuse is an insult to Hammerin' Hank and to black people everywhere. I'm sure there have been a couple of racist nut jobs sending you hate mail, but you can't even compare what you're going through to what he went through. I'm proud to call Hank Aaron a home run king. I'm embarrassed to even acknowledge I watch the sport you play, Mr. Bonds. Hank didn't choose to be black, you chose to take steroids. You want to know why people don't like you? Own up and admit it's because you're a cheater and an asshole. Using the race excuse is the path of a weak man.
I suppose there's no avoiding the fact that Barry Bonds will break the home run record, and probably very soon. Although I'm willing to guess that once you tie the record that mysterious leg injury will flare up again and persist until you're back in the safety and stupidity of San Francisco. God forbid you have to break the record in front of people who don't love you. Go to hell, Barry Bonds. I hope someone jumps the wall of the stadium and smacks you in your bad knee with a baseball bat.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Busy Day

Wow, really busy day today. Talks are ramping up at work on a project we're hoping to get involved in. It's a great script and I really hope we can get attached, but my blogging time wasn't huge today. Better update tomorrow. I promise.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Bathroom in My Office

Ok, folks, I don't have much to talk about today. But, I made a promise that I would post regularly (hopefully every day) and I intend to keep it. Actually, looking over my previous posts, I never got around to making that promise out loud, but it was in my head so it still counts.
Anyway, I am hear today to talk to you about the bathroom in my office. My office is in Editorial Building 2. The bathroom is in Editorial Building 1. To get to said bathroom, I must first stand up and go out of my office door. Then, I go down a hallway and go through another door that takes me outside. I cross over an elevated outdoor walkway and enter Editorial 1 through another door. Then, I take a right and pass through a swinging door which opens into...another swinging door. Then, and only then, can I use the bathroom. That's five doors to get into the bathroom here. Six if I have to go into one of the stalls. For your convenience, I drew up this map (Note: I used an ancient version of Photoshop and an ancient rollerball mouse to make this...plus, I'm no artist). The yellowy color is the outdoors and that happy little blue fella who looks like Evil Otto from Berserk is me.

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Now I'm not an architect or building inspector, but that just seems ridiculous to me. Shouldn't each building have at least 1 bathroom? Why should the lone restroom be shared by two buildings? If any pathogens ever get into the studio water supply, we could have a real mess on our hands.
Also, what's with the twin swinging doors leading into the bathroom itself? It's like an airlock or a decompression chamber or something. Am I supposed to wait for the door behind me to close before I open the door in front of me? And the airlock is pretty tiny, the door barely swings all the way open without hitting whomever is opening it in the face. I just don't get it. One more thing. This bathroom is on the second floor of the building. There are no elevators, ramps, or lifts or anything leading to the second floor. So why is there a handicapped stall in this bathroom? It would be virtually impossible to maneuver a wheelchair into this bathroom, so what's the purpose? Are we just giving fat people more room to feel comfortable, or do these fancy Hollywood types just like to feel like they're important so they get more room to poop? Damn it, I tried to get through this post without using the word "poop" and I couldn't do it. Oh well, poop poop poop. Speaking of which, after all this blogging, I have to go make a trip through six doors...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Today's the day we're going camping (in the mountains!)

I just got back from last night from my first camping trip in well over a decade. I think I went once in middle school with a friend I barely remember, and I may have camped with the Cub Scouts, but the bulk of my "outdoors" experience came from John Denver and the Muppets. I had a great time. I fished in the ocean, I went kayaking, I climbed a mountain, I saw otters and a coyote, and I used an outhouse. Many manly things. I beat my chest and howled at the moon (metaphorically, of course). Anyway, it was a really cool experience and I'm glad I did it.
However, I am one sunburned man. I am of eastern European descent with some Irish added in, making me so pale I'm nearly clear. This is the kind of skin that will never tan, it will just turn a color so red that cars stop when they see my face at an intersection. It is painful, it is ugly, and it is the price I pay for forgetting (for the third time this year) that one's skin can still be burned when the sky is overcast. The sun doesn't care. The sun says, "Clouds? To hell with clouds! My invisible light will bake your flesh! Clouds? Pfft. I'm better than clouds." God damned, arrogant sun bastard.
I noticed after shaving (of course I had grown a beard! Camping! Manly! Weren't you paying attention?) that the area under my beard was actually a pretty nice tan. It wasn't pale, but it wasn't red and stingy like the rest of my face. Believe me, with this patchwork of colors, my face is not a pretty thing to behold right now. Basically I have a tan beard on a red face. Therefore, in order to get a perfect "California" tan, I must become a werewolf. If my whole face and body were covered in fur, then I could go out in the sun all I wanted. When I was done, I would shave and be perfectly bronzed. It's the perfect plan. So, if any of you has lupine blood coursing through your veins, let me know what Misty moor you'll be prowling at the next full moon and I'll be there. Thanks.

And on a side note, Misty Moor just became my new favorite porn name.

Friday, July 13, 2007

About the title...

If anybody's reading this, you might be wondering why I titled this blog "The Scribe and Mouse." Well, I've always liked the idea of having a bar in my home. Specifically, a British pub. In our new apartment, we have a bar (as much as a breakfast bar with liquor bottles and a wine rack can be called a bar), so I wanted to come up with a cool Pub name for it. I actually played around with this idea for a long time before I settled on "The Scribe and Mouse." I used it simply because I am a writer (Scribe) and my wife works for Disney (Mouse). I cobbled together the sign you see in the picture and plan on hanging it on the wall near the bar. Now if I could just get a dart board and a satellite feed of EPL soccer matches....

As a fun bonus today, here's some rejected pub names (none of which necessarily have anything to do with me personally):
The Rose and Skeleton, The Sword and Rider, The Book and Candle, The King's Ransom, The Bard's Head (I still like this one), The Pen and Ink, The Knight's Armour, and so on.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Is it safe? Is it safe?

I went to the dentist today. Now, I'm not a big fan of the dentist. I have never had a cavity or anything, so it's a totally irrational fear. I've never been in a great deal of pain in a dentist's office and yet I always feel like "this time's gonna be the time." Well, today seemed like a good candidate. I was in last month for a routine checkup and they said I had too much plaque built up on my gums. So, they wanted me to come in for a "deep gum cleaning." For this, for the first time in my life, I had to be numbed with Novocaine. This is an utterly strange sensation. I didn't really feel anything through the procedure, so that's cool, but then I had to go to work with half of my face numb. I met my boss's wife for the first time with a dead right half of the face. I felt like Two-Face or the Elephant man. Speaking of which, do you think anyone ever considered throwing acid on Two-Face's good half and seeing if that leveled him out a little? I mean, if he's called One-Face maybe he wouldn't be so pissed off all the time. No one likes having to buy two sets of clothes then sew them together into one suit. Of course, you run the risk of turning him into PURE evil instead of half evil, but I think it's a risk Batman should be willing to take. He can't be that much worse, right? Ah well. The Novocaine's worn off and now my mouth just hurts. Thanks, dentist.

Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference in today's title.

Monday, July 9, 2007

LA Story- Chapter 2

Well, Melissa and I have just completed our first year in the dry heat of the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. And, right around that milestone, some big things have happened. First off, we just finished moving to our new apartment. We're not very far from the old place, but it's a much nicer unit. We finally have central air and a dishwasher, which is worth the $50 rent increase in and of itself, but overall the whole place just feels less like a tenement than the old place. This building feels like the manager actually cares about it/knows it exists. Nice.
Next, and more importantly, I have a new job. I'm still technically under the umbrella of Carsey Werner, but I am now a Producer's Assistant. Specifically, I'm Matt Berenson's assistant. As such, I am officially obligated to inform you that you should go see The Brothers Solomon on September 7th:
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With that out of the way, I'm basically a personal assistant, but without the "go get my laundry" kind of stuff. I handle phone calls and meetings and I read and cover scripts for him. All in all, a pretty awesome gig for someone with as little experience as I have.
So what does one do when faced with life changes? One blogs! Indeed I am a child of my generation- obsessed with technology and arrogant enough to think that people care what I have to say. Please enjoy this public window into my life.