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Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Brilliant Idea!: Palin-drones

Word: Palindrone: noun: a person whose unflinching support of the Republican party causes them to blindly celebrate Sarah Palin as John McCain's vice-presidential nomination, regardless of her lack of qualifications for the position.

"If you keep on believing these things they tell you, you'll be one step away from becoming a Palindrone."

New Rant!: Failing Analogy 101.

You've seen the videos of Obama saying "you can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig." And you've seen the outrage, the claims from McCain's camp calling him a sexist. And the media stoking the flames for ratings.

Well, here's the problem with all the outrage--you don't know what the hell you're talking about. The analogy is that Palin is the lipstick and the McCain/Bush politics are the pig.

Thanks for playing, though. Now please go back to voting for American Idol and leave this politics shit to people who can formulate a coherent thought. (Or this guy, who is leagues ahead of any other Fox News watcher I've met.)

(Oh, by the way, McCain used the same analogy when discussing Hillary Clinton. Of course the Librul Media was equally outraged by this blatant sexism, too...)

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Band!: (cli)Che Geuvara

(cli)Ché Geuvara is preparing for our first national tour! Our band attire will be Castro hats and Commie-green jackets with black boots and blah green military fatigues adorned with left-leaning political buttons. We will sing our folk-rock anthems with background Buddhist love chanting. Our fiddles and violins will be in drop D tuning* and on tour we will stick to fucking only pseudo-intellectual hippie chicks. We will tour the county singing for art fags and retirees in bourgeois cafes and old folks homes. Our albums will be sold online for whatever price you're willing to pay (+ $5.99 shipping and handling) and our songs will bring joy and unity to breadlines across the nation.

Keep an eye out for us in a town square near you!

(* Now accepting applications for tandem tamborinists and a classically trained, acid jazz-influenced harmonica player. Please see our official website for details.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Rant!: Middle America's Guide to Being Patriotic

Middle America's Guide to Being a Patriot

Step 1: Surround yourself with American flags. On your clothes, on your envelopes, on your toilet paper. Doesn't matter, just whatever you do, do it more than anyone else and make sure everyone knows it.

Step 2: Be related to people who were or are currently in the military. (Note: It it not necessary for you yourself to have ever served. Military service by proxy is good enough.)

Step 3: Be white, Christian, Republican, poor, and willfully ignorant. It also helps to be third generation American or better.

Step 4: Forward Anti-Obama spam messages quickly, often and with zero regard for who you or are forwarding them to.

And there you have it, the four easy steps to being a true patriot and a good American.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Stuff!: 40 Things All Drunks Must Do Before They Die

See the original article by Modern Drunkard magazine HERE.

#2: My most memorable bender was the 1st Annual Cult Meetup in back-country Indiana, June 2005. 6 hours of sleep in 5 days, nonstop alcohol consumption, and my first ever migraine on the flight back home. It's proven tough to outdo, but I'm still working at it.

#3: Done this plenty of times, normally with Jagermeister, sometimes with cheap vodka, rum or whiskey.

#8: Reaching back to my college days here, but we used to sit around the apartment, get boozed up, convince our Mormon roommate to drive, and we'd take off for the night or weekend. We were an hour from Vegas, so that was our normal destination. Or, we'd grab our sleeping bags and go disappear in the mountains for the weekend.

#9: Got thrown out of a bar in Atlanta after some chick I bought a drink for convinced the bartender that all her friends Jager bombs were on me, and I got stuck with a $200 tab. In a fit of rage I ripped down the 6' mirror in the bathroom. Once out on the curb, we saw a bunch of black dudes beating the shit out of some guy who kept quoting Dave Chapelle all night. Also, some southerners calling a couple drunk frat boys from Vermont "Goddamn Yankees". All in all, a damn memorable night.

#14: Nothing too fancy, but it was a bar with a barstool and multiple bottles of liquor and beer, so it counts.

#19: College again. In St. George, UT there's a big rock formation overlooking the town called Dixie Rock. We used to go up there after hours, me, my roommate,and a couple girls we were seeing, and we'd bring a couple blankets and a few bottles of booze and sit until the sun came out, then hit up McDonalds, go take showers and head to class. Memories...

#21: Manhattan, KS in late summer 2001 on a pitstop on my roadtrip with my dog on our way to New Orleans, I stayed with a friend from high school, who showed me around Aggieville, the single greatest barhopping experience I've ever had. The only place that is in the same universe is downtown Austin, but we didn't hit up nearly the amount of bars I went to in a single night in Kansas.

#24: I work in the entertainment industry. If we're not drunk or stoned, we're worthless.

#26: Same trip to Atlanta, I was just about broke (borrowing money from my buddy because I showed up broke right before they took off), I got wasted and started on how money was the root of evil and all this shiat, and after unsuccessfully trying to give the money to the cabby so he could help put his kid through college, I gave it to a bum outside the hotel. It probably would've been better if it'd been my money in the first place, but its the idea that counts, right?

#30: We'd do this our senior year in high school, on those weeks between the end of one sport and the beginning of the next.

#33: This was a weekly occurrence back in college. Double points: Stealing from the grocery store I worked at.

#35: I consider my drunk-writing to be among my best, and all of it has an autobiographical feel to it.

#36: Cult Meet-up again. Thanks, Nate!

So, 13 down, 27 to go. Unfortunately, I've got to wait for Tom Waits to die before I can accomplish #6, and I'm still waiting for Netflix to get Barfly on DVD.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Travelog!: World66 Maps

I just stumbled across an interesting site called World66. Here's a map of the US state's I've visited. I'll update this as soon as I get back on the road. Which, hopefully, will be around August or so.

And here's the map of the countries I've been to:

Not much to brag about, obviously, but hopefully there'll be more red splashed around in the nearish future.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New Film Review!: Dear Wendy

DEAR WENDY is directed by Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg, who helmed of one of my favorite films, THE CELEBRATION. It is an American Western in its broadest sense. Written by DOGMA 95 creator Lars Von Trier, it is a love story between a pacifist and his gun, and a critique of the love affair Americans have with firearms, as viewed by a couple of non-Americans. It is about social outcasts who band together with a common interest to form a group called The Dandies. They love firearms for the power and the sense of confidence the weapons bring them. Each member of the group names their gun, and they vow never to brandish them in public or in daylight, for doing so would awaken the guns to their true nature, which is to do harm. Instead, the group meets weekly in the basement of an abandoned mining facility which has been made over into a temple. The group plays dress up and have shooting practice, but they also study. They learn about their weapons, and about the damage they can cause. They also learn about the code of the Samurai and their fighting habits. They clear their minds to create psychic links to their guns. And when this link is created, they take it a step further and marry their weapons.

If you're a sensitive person who can't take some good-natured ribbing from foreigners about America, you'll probably be somewhat offended by this film. In it, everyone in this no name town full of hardworking, blue collared folk seem to carry guns, and when people are shot dead in the street the crowd reacts with little to no fanfare. Also, the main character is named Dick, which seems to be how the filmmakers might view gun-totting Americans. Also, the band The Zombies plays heavily into the story, as the filmmakers use the name of the band to reflect their views of this seemingly American-exclusive culture.

In many ways, DEAR WENDY reminds me of two of my favorite films. DOWN IN THE VALLEY, starring Edward Norton and also released in 2005, was a movie which began as one thing before taking a left turn to become something else entirely different. In both that film and this, the end result was to become an unorthodox Western. I can understand why people who don't admire the craft of filmmaking would be turned off by this structure, because it is so different than what they've become accustomed to seeing.

The second film, FIGHT CLUB (also starring Edward Norton, and also one of my favorite films), is similar to DEAR WENDY in a quite a few ways, including how both received mostly less-than-favorable reviews by professional critics who seem to have missed something in the storytelling. Perhaps they were so focused on they style of the films that they forgot to pay attention to the substance.

One of Roger Ebert's criticisms is the use of Sebastian, who is black, and who inadvertently introduces violence into the Dandies' world of respect and order. There are countless films where white Americans strike out to "fix" people of different races and nationalities, and Dick is no different as he sets out to try and change how Sebastian views guns. Ebert claims it is beyond racist, it's stupid. But that's missing the point - is it racist? Sure, but it's far from stupid. DEAR WENDY is a fable, and the filmmakers are attempting to show us a reflection of ourselves. It seems as though every week a new movie enters theaters across the country where millions of Americans can see stereotypical young black males behaving badly, brandishing firearms and acting wildly inappropriate and dangerous. Although Sebastian does this, he is more than just a simple cliche, cut from the same cloth as dozens of similar characters. And Vinterberg and Von Triers aren't stupid. They're aware of the cliche but they're not above using such a device to demonstrate how we tend to view a black man holding a gun verses white people holding guns.

Another of Ebert's criticisms is that the film doesn't follow the rules of the DOGMA95 movement. Apparently he isn't aware that this is not a DOGMA film, and it was never intended to be lumped in with that movement. In fact, in many ways, this film is as anti-DOGMA as they get, as it breaks just about every rule they set for themselves.

Other similarities shared with FIGHT CLUB include social outcasts creating a support group to help them deal with their issues, to inspire confidence in the characters, and this support group soon evolves into something approaching religion or cult status.

The genesis of the Dandies has shades of Edward Norton's Narrator changing his life after meeting Tyler Durden, as Stevie steps into Dick's life. The destruction of the central characters' ideal image of their creation comes about by introducing a character who sees through all the bullshit they've created. In FIGHT CLUB it was Marla Singer, in DEAR WENDY it is Sebastian.

In both films, a bizarre love triangle breaks up the group. In FIGHT CLUB, the Narrator is in love with Marlene, who is fucking Tyler Durden who is actually the Narrator, although the Narrator isn't aware of this little fact. In DEAR WENDY, Dick marries his gun, Wendy, but their relationship spoils when Sebastian borrows her for shooting practice. This is actually a very tender sequence, although the description comes across as hokey.

Another similarity is both these movies are cautionary tales about how easily people can be corrupted by material objects. In FIGHT CLUB, the Narrator rails against his life as a consumer, whereas in DEAR WENDY, the characters try to justify the natural urge to shoot the shit out of things, even as that completely contradicts their pacifistic nature.

A few more minor similarities include protagonists with obvious daddy issues and the need for branding and scarification. In FIGHT CLUB, fight club members scar themselves before they can join Project Mayhem; in DEAR WENDY, the Dandies cut themselves before they're allowed to fire their guns in public. Also, both protagonists are uptight and out of touch with the rest of their group.

Even the some of the sets have similar feels to them - the Temple in DEAR WENDY feels very much like 420 Paper Street. Both films use violence as a way to get a message across, and on and on. Hell, both titles even have 2 words with a total of 9 letters -- the mind, it boggles...

The climactic shootout between the Dandies and the law, led by Sheriff Krugsby, played a little over the top by Bill Pullman, reminded me of some of the best shootouts in films such as YOUNG GUNS and TOMBSTONE. It was the OK Corral, set in a contemporary American mining town.

I haven't said a word yet on the style of the film. It's beautifully shot and the set pieces are amazing, filled with wonderful details. It is paced well and it there is clever editing reminiscent of David O. Russell's 3 KINGS, and for the most part the acting was spot on. Some people have complained about the dialogue, saying it was stiff and unrealistic, but that was intentional - the goal of the movie isn't realism, but escapism, and what we say and how we speak in real life conversation is never the same as how we imagine those same conversation in our heads.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Rant!: Jazzercising.

The game just ended, so I might come across more bitter now than I might otherwise, but I'd like to say, first off, a pox on that bag of douche in Memphis who gave the Lakers Pao Gasol, and another on the referees - the officiating in this series was the most disgustingly awful I've sat through in recent memory. Phantom fouls and obvious non-calls helped ensure the Jazz wouldn't be able to overtake the Lakers in Game 5 in LA, and down the stretch two key bad calls gave the Lakers free foul shots to keep the game just out of reach. Obviously I don't blame the refs for the Jazz being down 19 at halftime - LA did a great job of jumping on the Jazz early and keeping them down for most of the game - but when it's that close at the end of the game (as was the case in all 6 games of the series), the outcome shouldn't be decided by bad calls. The blocking foul on Paul Millsap should have instead been a charge on Gasol, and that Kobe/Williams run in should have been a non-call at worst, or at best an offensive foul on Kobe swinging his elbow at Williams' face. Instead of closing the gap, that's 4 critical points that went to the Lakers.

Anyhow, now that Utah's season is over I have a few thoughts on what they should do to prepare their team for the future, before they sit ideally by and let the Lakers and Hornets run rampant for the next few years.

Here goes:

Elton Brand is an unrestricted free agent. The Jazz should buy him up and make a trade offer to Dallas - Carlos Boozer and someone like C.J. Miles or Ronnie Price, and a draft pick for Dirk Nowitzki.

Boozer's good but he's also inconsistent during the playoffs. And, in reality, he's only an All Star because he has Deron Williams helming the team. After Boozer shrunk during key stretches of the playoffs last year, he only had one really good game in the playoffs this year after being a constant 20/10 guy all year long, which tells me it's time Jazz fans and management realize that, although when all is said and done Williams may be regarded as highly as John Stockton one day, Boozer isn't the second coming of Karl Malone. Boozer is capable of being great when he's the team's second option, but the Jazz will never win a championship in this crowded western conference if they have to rely on him to have big games night in and night out.

With Elton Brand they would have a consistent 15/10 guy, someone who can play tough defense and grab rebounds, and with Nowitzki they'd have someone who not only can create shots from anywhere on the floor, but is a veteran who is hungry for a championship, and who would fit in perfectly with Deron Williams, who is the only untouchable player on the team, although unless an unbelievable deal was put on the table, I'd not surrender Kirilenko, Millsap, Brewer, Harpring, or Korver.

Salary cap aside, if a trade for Nowitzki goes through, then Okur could be shipped out, maybe to somewhere like New Jersey for Richard Jefferson or Detroit for Rasheed Wallace or the Pacers for Jermaine O'Neal, if they could pick up his expiring contract and convince him to take a salary cut to be on a contending team.

With a lineup of William (PG), Brewer (SG), Kirilenko (SF), O'Neal (PF) and Nowitzki (C), the Jazz would be one of the top three title contenders in the league.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Someone Else's Idea!: On Socialized Healthcare

Stolen from a conversation on An eloquent response to a dumbass response to this article about health insurance providers:

Insurance companies have to take in at least as much as they pay out. There is no free lunch, and medical costs are going up. If you don't like your policy, cancel it.

/has spent over $300,000 on medical bills.


Cagey B: Priceless. The person who had three hundred grand to shell out on medical bills telling us about "no free lunch".

We in the United States live in a system where we have no problem letting the government police our cities, fight our fires, keep our planes from falling out of the sky, build our gigantic freeways, prosecute our wars, and countless other things that profoundly affect our day-to-day lives and, you know, keep us from dying.

But when it comes to medical care? We seriously believe that you judge a person's right to treatment for serious illnesses based on their bank account. We have no problem with the premise of "No money? Well then you can die."

How fortunate for you that you could shell out that sum on needed medical services (unless it was cosmetic surgery, in which case you can go DIAF right now). If you hadn't that sum of money, by your very own admission, you wouldn't be allowed access to those services. Hopefully someone would come and tell you "no free lunch" as your tumor grows.

You understand that there are vital services in this country that are done by the government because either there is no way to turn a profit and do a satisfactory job, or because profit should not be the main motivating factor in providing services, right? Unless you're truly one of those assholes who thinks the police should privatized, you understand that you are part of a larger society, right?

So, unless you want what is in effect a system where the poor can go die because of the fact they are poor, there must be at the very least some sort of government intervention here. Perhaps preventing someone in the insurance industry from effectively not serving the people who are in actual need of the services that they have agreed to pay for every month, perhaps that would be a good start.

You may very well want a system in which poor people die simply by dint of the fact that they weren't rich enough. And before anyone else chimes in on this one, medical services, especially to people who, you know, get sick, are not some frivolous consumer good that can be done without. No one is saying that everyone gets to drive a Mercedes, or gets to have a 50" television. But the right to not suffer and die simply because of class should be one that we recognize. If you are one of those people, I'm done talking to you. You will not be reached, and refuse to live up to any of the responsibilities (and yes, as a member and beneficiary of society you do have them) to your State. Go move to Somalia, rugged individual.

For the rest of the conservative types, surely you recognize that there are at least some essential government services, necessary to life and limb. Medical care is one of those things that we need to have if our lives aren't to be cut shorter in the face of the resources to do otherwise.

If you're concerned about government intrusion, as this administration has shown you to rightly be, why not do something about it? Instead of being intractably against it, why not be a part of the planning process?

Are you concerned about cost overruns? You should be, taxpayer resources are vitally important and should be treated with respect. There are ways to make financial workings transparent, with proper oversight, to make sure waste and fraud don't occur. I can think of many Republicans who would be very good at functioning within a health care system and ensuring that money goes where it should.

Are you concerned about the quality of care? Again, get involved. Set standards. Hold doctors and administrators accountable. Keep up the oversight. Make sure that patients get the quality of care they deserve. It can be done. There are areas for compromise here. There are ways to harness the power of existing companies within an existing framework, even.

But man. What is currently going on, and the growing number of people's lives who are negatively affected and ruined by this situation, it is not acceptable by any standards. ANYONE'S standards. I sincerely hope that in time, our Republican and conservative friends can see this.

New List!: Best Modern Westerns

For no reason other than I like making random lists of unimportant shit, and in no particular order, here is a list of some of my favorite Westerns of the new millennium:

- Seraphim Falls
- The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
- The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
- 3:10 to Yuma
- Brokeback Mountain
- Down in the Valley*
- Dear Wendy**
- The Proposition
- No Country For Old Men

* Desert landscapes, horses, guns, shootouts with law enforcement and a cowboy. Can't think of any other qualifiers.
**A western-ish mining town, guns, cowboy-ish folk in a shootout reminiscent of the OK Coral. Close enough, right?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Brilliant Idea!: Lawyerderby!

Brought to you by the creative forces behind The People's Court and The New American Gladiators, Lawyerderby: "Justice May Be Blind, but She Ain't No Pussy!"

Tuesdays on NBC immediately following Dateline.

Friday, February 22, 2008

New Movie Review!: Sunshine

Great visuals - it felt absolutely believable that we were floating along in space, unlike in the Fountain - which this movie will be compared to - where space flight didn't need to make sense in the grander scheme of the movie.
In Sunshine, it was necessary to believe that they were flying through space with a nuke the size of Manhattan to crash into the sun. They have an escape plan, how they're going to make it back to earth when they're done, but it's apparent pretty early on that no one is going to make it out alive.

They're aboard a ship named Icarus II. Icarus I was sent on the same mission seven years prior - to set off the nuke to reignite the sun so all of humanity doesn't freeze to death. The crew of Icarus II discover a distress signal as they near the sun and, of course, they decide its best to go off course in order to see if anyone is alive on that ship, and to steal the original Stellar bomb in case something goes awry with their payload.

Some stuff happens. People die. We only start out with 8 scientists, even though realistically you would think they could and should have had many more people, if only to keep their sanity for the 16 months or so they're in space.

Freddy Krugger shows up about 2/3 the way through the movie like some crazy Mormon on their interstellar doorstep trying to sell them god and all the sudden this almost-brilliant movie about people trapped in a space ship flying dead on into the heart of the sun becomes a slasher movie - a very good, visually amazing slasher film, but a slasher film none the less.

One by one the crew is picked off until at the end we're left with the hero (Cilian Murphey) and his girlfriend (the always lovely Rose Byrne), who unfortunately disappears for a large chunk of the climax, only to return unecessarily when the hero sacrifices himself to save all of humanity. The sun turns back on, and back on earth the endless winter is over. End of story.

I mentioned the Fountain earlier because these two movies are similar in a lot of ways, mostly visual style, some minor plot points, but they're different in one major way - while Sunshine was an entertaining film with some heavy philosophical moments, the Fountain was something else entirely, something transcendental, something with substance and meaning beyond the typical movie. So if you're going to see Sunshine expecting it to be a big summer blockbuster like I did, you're going to get more than you bargained for; if you're going to the movie for some metaphysical mind-altering experience like some people I know did, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Someone Else's Idea!: On Evolution

Someone else wrote this response to the argument of Evolution vs. Intelligent Design, but it's worth reposting, as it's far more articulate than anything I can come up with:

I haven't read this thread, but I stopped getting worked up about this issue a long time ago. In the grand scheme of things, the fact that large numbers of Americans disbelieve in evolution is completely insignificant, except for the fact that this will be another eventual historical "black eye" on our nation, not unlike our treatment of Native Americans and the institution of slavery. So Clem and Billie Jo from down by the railroad tracks believe that the Universe was created in its present form 6,000 years ago. So what?

I've said this before, but scientific theories rise and fall on the basis of how well-supported they are by the evidence. They do not rise and fall on the basis of public opinion. If a poll were taken today that indicated that the majority of Americans no longer believed in gravity, the planets would not spiral drunkenly into the interstellar void, freed from billions of years of Newtonian imprisonment by a disbelieving public. Science just doesn't work that way.

Scientific advancement in several key fields may have stagnated in America, but let's not pretend that we were on the top of the heap anymore anyway. The advancement of science and of the knowledge of mankind will continue unabated, and if America is no longer able or willing to carry the torch, somebody else will. Internally, I can say that my own children will be given lots of exposure to math and the sciences -- if not by their teachers, then by myself -- and there's nothing that the self-appointed "guardians of morality" can do about it. If you want your children to end up as ditch-diggers, then more power to you; we need them, even in this day and age.

All of that having been said, I do consider religious fundamentalism to be anti-American and, in general, a threat to the American way of life. The lessons of the Cold War taught us that a real commitment to science and technology can produce a generation that would end up winning that war for us. And now that we face a threat that many would consider more grave than the Soviet Union, that lesson has been forgotten by many Americans, who are now descending into a frenzied pit of religious fanaticism, not unlike their fundamentalist brethren on the other side of the globe -- the same people they claim we're at war with. It's lunacy. And we may have to endure some proof of its lunacy before we set America back on the right track again.

God, it's frightening to think of where this country is going to be ten, twenty or fifty years down the line.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New Rant!: I Tipped My 40 For Good Ol' Gordie

Last week Mormon church president Gordon B. Hinckley passed away at the ripe old age of 98, and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. orders flags to be flown at half-staff. And I'm not talking about that ho-hum Utah State flag, but Ol' Glory herself, the flag of the US of A.

Can someone please tell me how this doesn't offend every single member of our Armed Forces? Everyday our soldiers are risking their lives for this country. Whether or not you agree with the war or Bush's foreign policies shouldn't take away from the fact that this guy never served in the military, never held any major office and was by no means a prominent politician, and yet the Governor of the state is honoring his service to our country more than their sacrifices.

Separation of church and state has been a myth for quite a while, this is just a big slap in the face to remind us of that.

New Stuff!: Yahoo Answers

Here is a small list of some of the things I did to amuse myself at Yahoo! Answers before I was banned:


Question: Would my girlfriend want me to wear a condom if she has done it with other guys in the future without one on?
My Answer: I would definitely wear a condom if the girl I was sleeping with has had sex with people from the future.


Question: Any one know what has happened to bands such as Puddle of Mudd, Ra, Oleander, Stereomud, Adema, Alter Bridge, Tantric and many more.....I have been real busy and haven't caught local radio for a while, but some of these bands I thought we would have heard from again. Are there any other long lost bands that might have a new cd coming out soon...what about Candlebox and Seven Mary Three, I hear rumors every now and then and saw 7 M 3 at a concert about 6 years ago, thought they may be coming back. Any one also have a great band that you miss that you though might last for a while but never were heard from."
My Answer: What happened to them is what happens to all crap music: people either catch on to how bad they suck and move on to something better, or people find some other crap music to push into the Top 40 for a year before moving onto something else of equal or more suckitude.


Question: What does this mean?: “Women are irresponsible and unaccountable?" Several of the anti-feminist male posters have used this line in their answers as a stand-alone statement. I want to understand what is meant by this statement – can you give some specific examples please? To what issues does it apply? Do you really mean ALL women, or will you admit to over-generalizing?
My Answer: It means the person who posted that, his mother did not love him and because he frowns all the time he finds it hard to find dates on Friday nights. Although, to be honest, it's a pretty accurate statement.


My Question: Should I ask the Lord for something cool like a unicycle, or something "mature" like world peace?
Best Answer: Being a communist, I would ask for one of those three or four-seater bikes.


Question: Do You think Paris Hilton Will Make Any Films in Jail?
My Answer: Yes, she already has an 8 figure deal for "One Night in Paris in Alcatraz".


Question: What was the flute played in the Titanic?
My Answer: I believe Kate Winslet was playing the bone flute.
Yahoo's Response: Badboy! You banned!

So much for that...

Friday, February 1, 2008

New Nonfiction!: Our Efficient Government

A bunch of months back I got a ticket for not yielding for pedestrians during a sting operation one of the most dangerous streets in LA (in my defense, there were no lights, no signs and the position of the crosswalk wasn't standard; also, I did stop--twice--but the cop didn't care, he was a dick). So I get the ticket and, being homeless and living in my van at the time, it was the least of my concerns so I forgot about it.

Later, I forget to pay the fine on time. Or I didn't pay it because I couldn't afford it. Either way, never paid.

Even laterer, after I get an apartment in Hollywood that has roaches and asshole landlords and a stink that never goes away, I get a notice warning me of my license being revoked if I don't take care of the ticket by such and such date.

Such and such date arrives, so I get up early (like 5:30 ish) and make my way to the courthouse. I park down the street at a meter and drop in a couple quarters. It's crowded with Mexicans and Black folk who aren't dressed like they're about to talk to a judge. They all look mean. I'm in line, outside this very bulky nine story building that has extravagantly used these neat little rocks to cover the entire outside, all the way around and up and waiting in line for so many hours I wondered just how many mountains were killed for this building to be dressed in a nice coat like that. Then I thought that there should be an environmental organization that works like PETA, but I realized that could never work because they couldn't get Pamela Anderson to show up on billboards wearing only rocks.

So I finally get inside and I talk to a clerk at a window and that woman asks me if I'm here to pay and I says to her, No, I'm pleading not guilty. So she sets up a date for me to arrive in court--8/30 at 8:30--easy enough to remember. So then I leave and discover the meter was up and I'm given a $45 ticket.

Skip ahead two months. I wake up early (this time, 5:45) and I go to court. I get lost because this time I don't have the address. Also, I don't have my paperwork. Turns out, I didn't need the paperwork nearly as much as the address. I arrive at the building around 7:20 and decide to pay the $7 to park in the underground parking facility. The line is nowhere near as long as it was before, which gives me hope that people are finally learning their lesson about driving like assholes. I doubt this is true, but for the sake of argument, let's just pretend. Unfortunately, as I later discover, less people means stiffer fines for those who're still there. So I stand in line again, and around 8:30 they let us into the building. I go to the 4th floor, to room #63 as per instructions. I stand in line at the sign that says, "Line Starts Here." I'm thinking, yey, I'm first in line. Smiling to myself and thinking that my day is going well so far, I hear this woman bark from across the hallway where she sits on a bench--obviously not where the sign is marking--and she says, "I'm first." She's black and I'm white, so obviously I'm either going to be a racist or she's going to shoot me, so I says to her, fine. Then, about three or so more people arrive and stand in line. She warns them all that she's first in line. I step out of the line to go down the hall to use the restroom (#1), and when I get back, there's like 40 people all materialized out of nowhere to take my place in line. I say fuck it, I don't want to argue. Turns out, I don't need to. We get inside the room, finally, and we take a seat, then after another bout of sitting around doing nothing, they call names. I'm like #4, well ahead of the girl who was first in line. So I win. Ha.

So we wait and wait and wait. Finally, a temporary judge (not the real thing, apparently, because the real thing was on vacation) comes out and we give our pleas. I tell him not guilty. The ticket was supposed to be $140, plus the fine for not showing up to court, which was another $200, but that should be waived if I win my trial. This wasn't trial, this was arraignment, so he says go talk to the clerk about bail. I'm thinking, wow, bail--I must really be a criminal now!

So another line (I thought I was the fourth person, now I'm back in a long line again, somehow) and finally the clerk, and the clerk tells me bail is $340. I'm like, that's sure a steep fine for a $100 ticket. They tell me that if I can't pay it (I can't, I'm as broke as I've ever been) then I have to come back in exactly seven days to tell the judge that I can't pay it. I ask why they can't just make a note to tell the judge later that I can't pay it so I don't have to go through all this trouble. She looks at me like her brain is about to esplode, so I decide to leave. I go home and think about taking a nap, but I probably just jerked off and ate a pizza. I don't remember, but that sounds pretty much like my everyday existance, so it's probably what I did. I do remember though that I certainly did not take a nap.

Skip ahead another week. My van is falling apart. I wake up around 6:15, shower and eat a cup of boysenberry yogurt. It wasn't the best yogurt I've had recently, but it wasn't bad--not like the raspberry/cranberry juice that I bought the same trip, which I had to return because it was fermented; they asked, with attitude, why I was bringing it back and I told them I came to buy juice, not wine. So I ate the yogurt, brushed the teeth and headed out the door. I found the courthouse without as much hassle as the first time, although I did drive around for about 10 minutes trying to locate the street (Hill street--I didn't know that last time, which is why it took me so long. I thought it was on Figueroa) and I find a great parking spot at a meter across the street--only 2 hours, though, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a ticket again.

I wait in line but it seems to go faster this time. Also, I feel like I recognize a lot of the people in line, and all the sudden I'm feeling like I'm in the Truman Show. I'm not, of course, but I had that weird feeling. So I get inside and remembering the last two times, I decided to buy a newspaper. I thought it might pass the time by reading about the hurricane and the ineptitude of the BushCo, but they don't have the USA today, which I like. I don't like the LA times, which they had. So I bought an iced tea in a can and went up to the fourth floor.

Again, I was pretty far up in line. No one bitched about their spots. We went in and sat down. I sat and sat and sat, then sat some more. People's names we called, they were lined up; more people came in and they were lined up. I was the fourth person in line and I was goddamn moved to the back of the goddamn bus. Pissed me off. Then the judge--a real one!--came out. He was a dick. One woman, the second person in line, gave him lip and instead of being hit with a $120 ticket, she was given over $4,000 in bail! I was like, holy shitfuck.

The line progresses quickly because the judge was efficient, but he was also a dick. I knew I was there just to tell the judge that I couldn't afford $340 bail on a $120 ticket I didn't deserve, so I figured I was going to be okay. When he asked what I'm going to plead--guilty, not guilty or no contest--I told him I plead not guilty last week. He says, "Okay, $600 bail and come back in a week." I'm like, "Huh? I came back to tell you today that I can't pay the $300 bail." He's like, "I'm not giving you any leniency--you didn't show up to court when you were supposed to." I said, "I'm not looking for leniency, I'm here to tell you I can't afford this three hundred bucks and I'm going to argue not guilty." He's looking at me like why the fuck am I still in his line. I said, "I'm following the orders, I was told to come back today. So why am I getting my fine doubled?" He tells me to get out of his line and start listening. I yell back, "I am listening, that's why I'm here today instead of at home, sleeping." He waits, unrelenting. I'm confused and furious. Finally, I'm told to leave the podium. I tell him I want to change my plea then. He says good, notates the paperwork and tells me to move on.

I leave to the clerk's place and stand in line again. It's a huge line and takes an hour to get to the window. The woman says I owe $269. I ask her to break it down for me. She does. I tell her I can't pay it. She says I've got three months. I leave and find out that, although my meter had expired at hour ago, they didn't give me a ticket. I drive home. An hour later, my boss calls and asks if I can come into work. I say sure--I'm fucking broke, I've got bills due and I don't have any money for gas or food. Although I was tired, I think I definitely needed to be here.

So that's one ticket that should've been really easy to take care of, but for whatever fucking reason it just wasn't. Here's the other ticket. I got this while coming home from work. My taillight was out and apparently I ran a stop sign that I never saw. Still don't think it was there, but they didn't ticket me for the stop sign, so I don't care. What they ticketed me for was no registration and a busted taillight.

So I ignore the ticket and go back to filming my movie. In one scene, the main character taps the window with a gun. I ask my actor to do this. He does, and it splinters my windshield. Over the next several weeks, this splinter grows until my window is divided in half and is nearly impossible to drive (although I tough it out and do it anyway).

So I take the van to the DMV to get it registered. I pay them $217 in back fees and whatnot, and they tell me that they can't register it until the window gets fixed. Then I go to the Beverly Hills court house to show them the temporary registration and they tell me they can't take temporary registration, and they tell me that as soon as I get my taillight fixed, I have to get it inspected by the sheriffs department downstairs. They give me two months to get everything worked out.

Then, the next week, several weeks ago, both my jobs end and I wait six weeks with no money, waiting for unemployment to unfuck themselves long enough to send me my checks. They finally come, the same week both my jobs start again.

Skip ahead several weeks. To yesterday, actually. Columbus Day. What the fuck kind of holiday is Columbus day? There should be three holidays and three holidays only--St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, New Years/New Years Eve. That's it, everything else is bullshit.

So I stay up late Sunday night schooling some friends in poker. I've been on a losing streak ever since the cult meet-up, but I finally get back in a grove. I only won $50, but at least it's something. So I get home and go to bed around 3 or so. The next morning at 8, I get a call from the guys who're supposed to come by around noon to fix my van's window. They're early. I roll off the couch and head outside. They say it'll be an hour to fix it. I say to call me when they're done and I'm going to take a nap. 30 minutes later, they wake me up again. It's done and it'll cost me $275.00. So cool, they're efficient, but fuck I'm tired. They say don't drive for at least an hour, so around 10:30 I take it up the street to these Armenian auto shop guys who say they can fix the light. I've already done what I can (check the fuse, change the bulb, etc) but it's still not working. They say it'll be a couple hours, so I walk home and go to bed. They call a couple hours later, saying it's done and it'll be $60. Not a big deal.

So I drive to the DMV to get the window inspected and get my registration, but they're fucking closed because of goddamn Columbus day. So that means I've got to go to work and not get home until 3 in the morning and then have to get up early in order to take care of all this at the very last minute (seriously legitimately not my fault, since I had no money because of the Unemployment Department). So I get up this morning and go to the DMV. I get there at 10:15. I wait in line until 10:40. The lady gives me a number and tells me to take a seat after I explain that I'm only there to get inspected, that I've already paid for everything. So I sit, and I sit and I sit, and finally at 11:35 I get called to window 17. The woman is about to leave for lunch, but she explains that I should've taken my van to the inspection station out back. I tell her that the other woman should've told me this, it would've saved me an hour. She says she agrees and tells me it's time for her to leave for lunch. I tell her I didn't see a parking area and she says it's really small and hard to spot because it doesn't have any markers. I leave and move my van around and finally find where she's talking about.

I wait another 30 minutes until I can park my van in one of the two inspection spots. The inspector checks everything out and okays it and gives me a piece of paper. I go inside, skipping all the people in line who're frowning at me and tell the clerk that she should've told me to go there first. She gives me a number and I sit down. I wait about 15 minutes until I'm called to window 12. I get my plates and I'm out of there.

The drive to Beverly Hills sucks. Traffic sucks. Most of Southern California sucks, but Santa Monica blvd. sucks the hardest. So I get there and I park as close to the courthouse/sheriffs department as I can. I go inside and go through the metal detector. One of the guys compliments my shirt.

I walk to the sheriffs department and tell her I'm here to have my taillight inspected. She tells me to move my car out back. So I leave and walk half a mile to my car and move it to where I need it, then walk back inside. Another of the security guards sees me, and jokes about my passing through the metal detectors a second time. I go to the sheriffs department and hand her my paperwork again. Once more she looks it over, then tells me she needs mt to go upstairs and get a copy of my ticket. I wonder why she didn't tell me that earlier.

I go upstairs to the DMV and wait and wait and wait in line for a clerk to put down her fucking donut and newspaper and start paying attention to the line. It's also hot because they don't pay for AC. So tell her I need my ticket. She complies. I go downstairs and give it to the sheriff's clerk. She tells me I need to go back upstairs and pay it. I tell her that I need to get the taillight ok'd before I can pay it. She says there's no mention of a taillight on the ticket. I show her on the ticket where it says something like "B/O rear - to fix" or something and I says, I'm pretty sure that's what they're talking about. She says oh, yeah, that's right, but they don't inspect taillights here. I tell her that 2 months ago I was told to come here today to have it inspected. She says she doesn't know why. I say why is there an inspection station out back if they don't inspect things. She says they just don't inspect taillights. I say how hard would it be for you to look at my taillight to prove it works. She says I need to go to some place where they do smog checks, they might also inspect taillights. I ask if she can be more specific. She says no. I tell her it's 3:30 and they close at 4:30 and I have to get this done today because yesterday I couldn't because it was Columbus fucking day and it's the last day I have on this extension. She says too damn bad. I leave the building, the decide to go talk to the DMV clerk one more time.

I pass the security guard who jokes that I just must love this stuff. I growl.

I go upstairs and tell the clerk who sent me downstairs that I just want to pay the ticket. She says I can't without getting it inspected. I tell her to look out the window and she can see my van and I'll run down stairs and tap the break lights. She says no. So I ask her if I can get an extension until tomorrow. She says no. She says I need to come back on November 8th to talk with a judge. I tell her I'm just doing what I've been told to do--go to the sheriffs department--and it's causing all this fucking headache. She says she doesn't give a flying shit. I reach over the counter and break her nose. Then I leave a comment on a card in the comment box telling them their inefficiency and incompetence is costing me money and having me run around in circles. So there.

I should point out that this fix it ticket is for THIRTY FUCKING DOLLARS.

And now I'm at work and I just ate a really bad sammich.



They do street cleanings on Wednesdays and Fridays, depending on the side of the street. I was parked on the Friday side and at 10:15 I went out to move my van. We're not allowed to park from 10 - noon, and when I got out there, the parking meter whore was on her way down the street, so I just barely escaped.

I move my van down the block after driving to a gas station to put some air in the rear right tire, which has a slow leak in it. Really slow. Then, I walk over and check my email a block away at this cafe that's really neat, and I walk back another couple blocks to my bank to transfer some funds. Then, I walk back over to my van as the street sweeper truck makes it's way down my road. By now, it's after 11, and since I've already witnessed them cleaning the street, I'm thinking it's safe to park. I get in my van and drive around the block and go inside and jerk off, then take a nap. I wake up, shower, get ready for my day and then head outside and there's a goddamn ticket on my window that's marked at 11:58--the bitch fucking watched me drive off earlier and came back to give me a ticket just before time expired, after the fucking truck already cleaned the street. What the fuck? And the number they have listed to contest the ticket doesn't have a number to press for "assfucked by the fascist street sweepers", nor do they actually have a real live person to complain to, just monotone computers.

So there goes another $45.


(Originally posted 10/11/2005 at; reposted here for posterity.)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Fundraiser!: THUMBING

I am looking to collect $3,000 for the start-up costs to get my next feature film THUMBING underway. It is a simple but dynamic road-film about a middle-age truck driver and a young hitchhiker who meet one night in the California desert. Two of the three principle locations have been locked up and I am searching for a truck company interested in sponsoring the film.

We will be filming with a skeleton crew in Utah, Nevada and California, and I have access to two named talents for the principle roles (one a television icon, the other on many people's list as one of the best actors under the age of 30). I will contact them with the start-up funds have been reached.

If you would like to make a donation, please click on the following link:

THUMBING fundraiser

Everyone who donates will receive a special thank you in the closing credits of the movie. For all pledges of $20 or more you will receive a copy of the movie on DVD when finished. And for every $100 pledge you will receive one point on the back-end (out of 100) if the film is picked up for distribution. (Meaning, if the film is made for $20,000 and sells for $100,000 you will receive 1% of the $80,000 profit for every $100 you donated.)

If the $3,000 goal is not reached within 25 days, your pledge will be returned to you with no charges. If we surpass our goal, all funds will go directly toward the production of the film. As the writer/director, I won't be making a penny off the film until everyone else gets paid as well.

Thank you for your support, and please spread the word.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Movie Review!: I Am Legend

I'm a fan of the Richard Matteson novel I Am Legend, but I wasn't very impressed by Omega Man, starring Charleston Heston as Robert Neville, the last man standing following a devastating plague. I was however intrigued to learn a major studio was going to remake this film and happy to hear Will Smith was cast in the lead role. Put Smith on screen with every A-lister out there and he'd be the actor most people are drawn to, so to me this was a no-brainer.
This version of the movie strayed from the book quite a bit but for the most part the changes worked. Making the film a boy-and- his-dog story was genius as it gave Smith a chance to shine as he scoured the city for supplies and searched for survivors and a cure for the deadly virus that wiped out much of the population, and those it didn't kill were turned into something resembling the pseudo-zombies of Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. Will Smith gave the character a realism that I felt was lacking in Omega Man, an earnestness that Charleton Heston couldn't deliver. When Smith spends a portion of his day talking with dummies at a video store, it's heartbreaking where it might otherwise have been goofy or out-and-out embarrassing.

The flashbacks were wonderfully done, giving the audience just enough info to keep them abreast of the situation but not enough to overload them, and much was smartly left to the imagination. Some of the other positive changes were the use of cultural references to help tell the story, such as Bob Marley's Legend or the scene from Shrek (although this might hinder the movie in the future as it can strip away a sense of timelessness). I really dug the shots of the vacant city, now overrun by nature and wildlife, and how Neville (and in turn the audience) underestimated the intelligence of the creatures. And even as the story built toward its explosive climax, I was never able to predict how it was finally going to come down.

However, this was far from a perfect movie. The ending I couldn't predict left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. The birthday subplot and the use of the butterfly metaphor were trite and cliched, the product placement was obvious and annoying, and the CGI creatures were awful. If you want the audience to believe in the world you've created you need to surround the make-believe with as much realism as you possibly can but by having the creatures so blatantly unrealistic it constantly reminded me that this was just a movie. I was never able to get beyond that as has happened in similar films such as 28 Days Later or Batman Begins.

Another major change from the book I didn't care for was Neville was not only a brilliant scientist and a decorated soldier but he was also immune to the disease. I understand in a film you have a limited amount of time to convey a great deal of information but one of the things I loved about the book was that Neville had to become a scientist, which fit in the theme of adapting and evolving. Having him be a scientist from the get-go stripped away a layer of his character that was intriguing and realistic.

Although I didn't like the timing of the introduction of the two other characters in the film - Anna and Ethan - I loved the clever and subtle ways the characters are developed. When Neville throws his plate at the wall, the child steps back from the table, apparently in fear. As Neville leaves the room, he steps forward, revealing a knife in his hands - he may be just just a kid, but Ethan is as much a survivor as Neville. There were many little moments in this movie to make it shine, this being my favorite.

Using Bob Marley's Legend album could have been schlock had Smith dropped the ball, but his heartfelt monologue sold it, as did his delivery while quoting Shrek to his new house guests. Using that particular scene from the animated comedy also added to the overall story, rather than just being funny for the sake of amusement.

The climax of the movie came too suddenly. I would have liked another day or two of Neville reintroducing himself to society, even if that society consisted solely of a woman and a child. The way he rigged his home to be the last line of defense against an attack was fine, but I think the filmmakers dropped the ball by having the end come so soon after the arrival of Anna and Ethan. They could have mined some good tension out of their relationship, but feeling the need to wrap this film up quickly the filmmakers decided they'd had enough with the drama and turned this interesting film into just another (albeit intense) action flick.

Smith's total engrossment of the Neville character is, in my mind, worthy of an Oscar nomination. It's unfortunate this film will be looked at as a crowd pleasing popcorn flick rather than a rich character study - the same problem facing my favorite movie of '07, The Lookout - but he also had the bad luck of doing so well in a year of brilliant turns in more award-friendly fair by Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd) and Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah).

Overall I appreciate this film for staying true to the spirit of the book even at the cost of a word-for-word adaption, and Smith's understanding of the character allowed him to pull of something only a handful of actors could have, and that's make a believable action hero out of an ordinary man.

New Travelog!: Part 2: Tooele, UT

It's Tuesday the 28th. After being snowed in in a mansion in Park City, I finally got a ride into Salt Lake. I ate some pretty good brunch at a Thai restaurant near downtown before getting a ride to a bus stop. A quick bus brought me to a transfer point that was supposed to get me on a second bus to take me out to Stansbury Park, but I waited 3 and a half hours in the cold and the wind. I talked with several operators on the phone and after very clearly letting them know my coordinates, each one told me I was waiting in the right spot and they were unsure why the bus hadn't arrived yet. Turns out, each of the six operators told me I was supposed to be on 2nd South, rather than the next street over, State Street. For their errors, I received two free bus tokens. Fucking sweet!

I was dropped off at the Old Firehouse and after struggling in the weather with my luggage, I was picked up by an older woman in a Cadilliac (thanks Mrs. Preston!???), and dropped off at my dad's house. I've been here ever since. I think today is Day 5, and it's been pretty uneventful.

The highlights:

Bumped into my Aunt Lynne at Wal-Mart. She was buying dog food and wondered why she never received an invite to Andrew's wedding.

I'm working part-time at my stepmother's office, filing 6 months worth of backed up paperwork.

I sent my script out to a producer I met at Sundance, and I'm spending my days systematically erasing all my posts from The Cult.

Bowled with my stepmom and my sister but I lost all four games. I'm blaming it on the lane being overly greased - I couldn't get my slider working to save my life. Apparently Lazer Bowling is the big teenage draw in this town.

My dad sold his pool table. We played a few rounds of chess. He bought tickets to the Jazz/Bulls game on the 9th.

Watched Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth today as well as a French coming-of-age movie from 1975 called A Very Young Girl. Tomorrow I'm going to give Dead Man another shot after finding a place to watch the Super Bowl.

I'm pretty much counting down the days until the 10th. This place makes me lethargic. I'm not sure where I'm going from here - probably either Portland to kill some time, Seattle to babysit my stepfather while my mother recovers from surgery, or Bellingham to visit some friends. I plan on visiting all three of these cities in the next month, but in what order I'm not sure. After that, if there is still no work in LA, I'm going to take a bus to southern California and move all my crap back to Desert Hot Springs and hang tight out there, fixing up the house until my brother's wedding.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Travelog!: Part 1: Sundance '08

Prologue: Due to the WGA strike I'm having no luck finding work in LA. I've been without a job since mid-December and I was turned down for unemployment because there was a mistake in the paperwork, and because so many people are out of work right now, it's even more difficult to get someone on the phone, which, in the best case scenario, is pretty damn tough. So my options are as such: Spend my last couple hundred bucks on one more months worth of rent and hope a job materializes or take my last couple hundred bucks and hit the road, travel around for a few months, and return when there are jobs to be had.

Travelog Pt. 1: Sundance '08

As I talk with my roommate about happiness and the future and what we can do to better ourselves as people and whatnot, I received a text from a friend from high school wondering if I'd be interested in flying out to Park City to volunteer at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Although I grew up in Utah, I vowed to never go to Sundance until I had something showing. But this felt different. The idea really stuck, and I mulled it over for a couple hours before deciding to go ahead and fly out.

I was working on a friend's film through the end of the weekend so I bought a ticket on Jetblue for Monday night. The flight was delayed two hours, and I spent $14 for a burger that was prepared wrong twice before finally understanding that I don't want onions and pickles. I'd forgotten my laptop charger, and I hardly had any cold weather clothes. When I left LA it was probably 60 degrees. In Salt Lake the temperature was in the single digits.

My dad picked me up from the airport and drove up the canyon to Park City. I had a bed in a condo that was shared between myself, my friend Heidi, and 7 of her friends. Out of habit and out of not wanting to crawl up a skeezy looking ladder when I arrived home at 2 am every night, I slept on the couch down stairs. After signing in at the Volunteer Villa, I was given a Sundance '08 jacket, scarf, beanie and vest. If it weren't for my shoes, I'd be all ready for winter and the -5 degree temperature that I walked home in that night.

I worked at the Holiday Theater tent, selling tickets to impatient tourists and imputing data into a computer. I was told I'd be on the morning shift which would allow me a chance to see more movies at night and possibly get into some of the parties, but instead I was moved to the night shift. Because of this, I wasn't able to see two of the films I really wanted to check out - Michael Haneke's Funny Games (the remake of his own Austrian film from 1997) and Gonzo, the documentary about nutjob journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

However, I did manage to get in a handful of movies while I was there, including The Wackness, the final movie showing on the final night of the festival. Starring Ben Kingsley as a drug using shrink, it was easily the best movie I've seen while here. It was the only movie that truly blew me away, and was just about as perfect a movie I've seen in a long time. It costarred an Olsen Twin, which made it even more unlikely that I'd enjoy it.

Other movies I enjoyed were the Spanish language film Sleep Dealers, a sci-fi flick about a kid from a small Mexican village who leaves home after the death of his father by a Corporate Army hired to keep aqua-terrorist from harming the company's water supply. Although it was a low budget movie (I can't imagine it had more than a million bucks), it was so well put together. I walked out of the movie thinking it was the best writing, best editing and best directing I've seen in a long time, and I haven't been this impressed with special effects in a film since the original Matrix. It won the best screenplay award at the festival, along with the sci-fi award.

I only caught two documentaries, although there were several I wanted to see. The first (and the better of the pair) was Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired. Very well put together, it was able to get into the reasons why he did what he did, although it (rightfully) doesn't excuse him from the crime he committed. It spent quite a bit of time focusing on the judge in the trial, and there was a lot of effort in showing various angles and points of view. Definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of Polanski, or if you love documentaries.

The other doc I caught was Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?, which I'm torn about. I think the film is one that everyone needs to see but there is a lot I don't like about it. First, it's going to shoot itself in the foot during it's marketing campaign. I'm convinced it'll be presented to the 18-35 year old market as kind of a Dawg the Bountyhunter hunts down Osama bin Laden, which obviously pique a lot of interest, but the truth is the movie is less about Osama bin Laden and more about the way various peoples in the Middle East view Americans and American foreign policy.

Using bin Laden as the reason to visit various countries, Spurlock never intends to discover where the terrorist is hiding. Every mention of bin Laden bit could very well have been removed from the movie and it would have been more profound, although the audiences wouldn't turn out en masse, so I guess it's a trade off he wasn't willing to settle on. The other major turn off for the movie is the use of goofy cartoony videogame sequences to seque one scene to another, and the dumbest opening movie sequence I've seen in a long time. All of this is for one reason - to get young audiences into the theaters.

Again, I think it's a documentary that everyone should watch, but I think this is going to turn off a lot of people and I'm not convinced flashy CGI fight scenes between a 9 foot ninja bin Laden and Morgan Spurlock is necessarily going to resonate with today's youth.

Other noteworthy films were Frozen River, which I saw because I'd written a role for Mark Boone Jr. in my script A MILLION SHADES OF WHITE, and he had a small part in this as a French Canadian strip club owner cum human trafficker. It was good - deserving of it's audience award, for sure - but it will probably resonate with female audience members more than it will the guys. The acting was top notch, the directing was steady throughout, there were some great cinematic moments, and the entire situation seems plausible, which makes it even more heartbreaking.

One of the three movies I intended to see was Choke, written by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk and starring Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Houston. I was a bit frightened when I noticed the film was less than 90 minutes long, but it was funny (which is good 'cuz it's a comedy) and most of the cast did a great job (it won an award for best ensemble cast) although I thought both the leading females were the weak part of the film, along with some issues with the low budget. Mostly I would've liked better sets and more creative camera work. Also, the way the flashbacks transitioned in and out of the film was abrasive.

Script writer/director Clark Gregg (photo <----) did an outstanding job adapting the novel and he didn't flinch at some of the more perverse and obnoxious elements of the book. It's a testament to his script that I can't really think of anything that was missing from the book and I enjoyed the few things he added, such as the interview scene before the fake-rape. Funny, but probably not for everybody.

I'm a little disappointed at the amount of drinking I was able to accomplish, but we did have a party in our condo the second to last night, in celebration of one of the roommate's 27th birthday. He was kind of a douche, but his mother was nice. The party wound down around 3 am when he decided to go to bed and told us it was his party so he was allowed to tell us when it was over. I arrived late due to work, but it seems like everyone who came (probably around 30 people or so) brought a bottle of wine to go with our already pretty impressive alcohol collection. We had plenty left over the next night, although we did our best to finish it off before the festival ended.

As the festival was winding down we were hit with a major storm that closed off portions of the freeway and stranded us in Park City for an extra couple of days. My friend Heidi - who has been working at the festival since we graduated in '98 - has a friend whose father owned a house in the area, so we crashed there. And by house, I mean full blown mansion. There must've been a dozen rooms, each with their own bathrooms. A sauna (which I couldn't turn on), a gym, a wine room, a nifty hot tub - and a kitchen with 4 ice cream scoops, two microwaves and two stoves! Anyway, the first night it was just the three of us, and it was pretty tame. After they went to sleep, I explored the house and drank bourbon and Coke.

The second night started out a bit different. Four more of Heidi's friends showed up - all women - and we sat around drinking and playing Scattegories. As the ratio of guys:girls was 6:1, I knew I wouldn't be getting laid (with those odds, nobody's getting nothing). We drank a lot and one by one people left to go to bed until again I was left alone. I finished the bourbon and went to sleep.

The next morning, I caught a ride down the mountain with a couple of the girls from the night before, and now I'm here at my dad's place trying to figure out where to go next. My brother is getting married in April, so I figure that's a good time to return to LA. Until then, I'll keep moving and keep posting.

Friday, January 11, 2008

New List!: Favorite Movies of 2007

2007 was a good movie year. There was a time around August/September where there were seven movies playing in theaters that interested me enough to fork out the money to check them out. Unfortunately, I was probably broke so I was only able to see a couple. Even though it was released in February or March, the film I most enjoyed this year was Frank Scott's brilliant directorial debut The Lookout, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels. It bombed at the box office, mostly, I assume, because it was marketed as a thriller when in reality it was a drama about a kid with a head injury. To me, it was the perfect blend of Hollywood style and Indie heart.

Once, an Irish romantic musical directed by John Carney and starring
Glen Hansard of the rock group The Frames was a really close second. I can't say with any certainty that I've ever truly enjoyed a musical or a romance before, and being equal amounts of both I was blown away by how much this movie affected me. I'm glad I caught it on a red-eye flight, if the rest of the passengers had been awake I might've embarrassed myself as I dabbed my eyes and grinned like a retard on helium.

My other favorites, in no particular order:

* There Will Be Blood
* Red Road
* No Country For Old Men
* Michael Clayton
* I Am Legend
* I'm Not There
* Eastern Promises
* Zodiac
* The Darleejing Limited

Movies I bet were really good but I didn't see:

* The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
* Gone Baby Gone
* Into the Wild
* Lust, Caution

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New List!: Some Things LOST Can Do To Improve

I'm not sure if Lost is a great show or not. I know at the very least it is a really good show that has some great moments. But like everything else heeding my advice can make it better. So, as we stand at the eve of the new season here is a list of things Lost can do to improve:

- Unless they're vital to the outcome of the show in some sort of spirit animal/anime type way, stop it with the animals references. They were interesting for a while but they became a cliche somewhere in the middle of the second season. Kate's horse, Sawyer's boar, the Hurley bird, Sayid's cat, and so on and so on. Enough already.

- More cliches: Jin is only an asshole when its a Sun or Jin-centric episode. Either he's a dick or he's not, but be consistent. Also, Sawyer is cocky but he's bad at poker and he's bad at ping-pong. We get it, so make him either a bad ass or less cocky, but not both.

- Limit Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Locke to 1 Flashback per season apiece. There are a lot of characters out there who are far more interesting who can use the attention, and whose pasts can be mined.

- Kill kill kill! Eko was one of my favorite characters and although I was pissed when he died it re-solidified Lost as a show worth watching. The writers missed a golden opportunity at the end of Season 3 to knock off a few characters - Sawyer obviously isn't going to die, Jin will probably stay on through the end, but killing off Bernard would have gone a long way toward making Rose more interesting. Even if no one died you could've ramped up the suspense factor by having their lives hang in the balance until the beginning of this season. Killing Charlie was nice - props to the writers for offing a character I never liked while making me actually care about him. And c'mon, finish off Rousseau, please.

- Keep fucking with our heads. Desmond's de ja vu episode was the best of the season and one of the best of the entire series. The season 3 flash-forward finale was great. Congrats on having the balls to not stick to the structure. Keep it up and keep us on our toes.

- Let Jack Bender direct every episode.

- Not all of Hurley's episodes need to feel good. In fact, I'd love the next one to be a real fucking downer. On the same note, it's time for the resolution of Libby's storyline (and Bea Clugh's, too).

- No more well known special guests.

- During season 1 I bet my brother the show would jump the shark when there was either a birthday episode or a holiday episode. Lost went through Thanksgiving with only the briefest of mentions, but as season 4 is starting just before their Christmas Eve, I'm a little nervous.

- I have always felt the producers knew what the final outcome was to be, but they weren't entirely sure how they were going to get there. When ABC announced the series would end after the 6th season, I felt this was the best thing that can happen to the show. With a definitive ending in sight the creators can map out exactly how they want us to reach the destination. I know there are a lot of fairweather fans - probably as many as there are die-hard fans who claim the show is flawless - but I'm willing to stick out to the end to see what has been cooking up. I don't claim to know what's coming and I'm sure there's a good possibility I might not like how it ends, but knowing that it has an end makes it that much more intriguing. X-Files and Twin Peaks has nothing on Lost.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Thing!: Jaywalking (Updated)

I went to sleep around 3 in the morning and set my alarm for 11, but when I woke up at 7:30 I thought to myself, you know what, you're awake and you feel good, why don't you walk to the court and deal with that jaywalking ticket, you know, get it off your mind? Boy, am I retarded and once more I got fucked by the California legal system.

To recap: July 4th on my way to see a movie I was pulled over by a couple cops who said a woman reported I had jaywalked. They issued a ticket. I left for Washington to work on a film and when I returned I found that the fine was originally $250 and was now, with fees included, $977.

Today, I went before a judge and he asked how I wanted to plead. I told him not guilty, and, thinking because my driver's license had my address listed way the hell away, I asked for a change of venue. He pretty much told me I was an idiot and should learn what the hell I'm talking about. He told me that had I pleaded guilty for this infraction he would've let me walk out of the court room with a $50 fine (which probably wasn't true - everyone before me who had similar cases were given light fines for the infraction and still had to pay the hefty fees for not showing up to deal with their ticket in a timely manner). He said furthermore, he thinks I'm foolish because, obviously, I'm guilty of the crime, and he set my bail at $977, which I have a week to pay, then he set my court date for further on down the road. I asked if I could change my plea - something which many people before me had done - and he ignored me and told the next person to come take the stand. So, basically, I can pay the $977 bail and go in front of the trial judge and try to convince him that the cops had not seen me jaywalking and had given me the ticket out of heresay - and the cops will probably be there to tell him that's a lie - and I'll get nailed with paying the bail amount, or I can go to court again tomorrow and ask the same judge if I can change my plea, and either he's going to make me look like an idiot in front of everybody or he's going to say, I'm glad you learned your lesson, now here's how much you have to pay... (probably the full $977, or what I might've been able to walk out of court paying today, which would've been $50 for the ticket plused the assest fines, which will probably amount to about $350, plus another $30 because I won't be able to pay the fine when I leave the court). All this for a goddamn jaywalking ticket given to me by hearsay!

Fuck yeah, California!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Fundraising!: Marvin's Lament's Film Festival Funds

Hi all, I hope your new year is off to a good start.

My short film "Marvin's Lament" is nearly complete and is being prepped for a film festival run. I'm going to have an updated version of the film online later, hopefully by this time next week, but you can check out the rough cut here.

So, now is the time for me to shamelessly beg for money. Please visit this link to make a donation to the cause. I have 25 days to raise at least $500 which will pay the fees for about 10 festivals.

For anyone who makes a donation, you'll get a special thank you in the credit. If you make a donation of at least $20 I will send you a copy of the DVD as well as some nifty promo stuff when it's all ready.

Thanks, and feel free to spread the link around to anyone who might be interested in helping out.


PS: Send me a message or leave a comment after you donate so I can make sure you get your copy of the film.