Hey, hey! I’m going to be blogging elsewhere from now on. This way, and I’ll explain about how my blog title made me cringe. At a funeral.

Why we are not moving

December 3, 2010

So Husband Guy and our kid and I live in this really small apartment. Just how small is subject to family debate: Husband Guy once said, in a really authoritative tone, that our apartment was no more than 450 square feet, something I now suspect to be FALSE. (It is actually very small, though.)

It’s a cute apartment, and it has a little garden where I attempt to grow vegetables (tomatoes and chard: easy. Cucumbers: impossible.) and in general it has lots to recommend it. But it’s very small, so we recently decided that we were going to start looking around for a new place. We were very optimistic as we went into this process, having heard that it was a total RENTER’S MARKET here in LA.

Anyway – Husband Guy stays at home with our kid, so for a couple of days, after I finished writing/pretending to write for the day, I would leave work and check out some apartments on the way home. You know – do the first pass, just to see what was out there.

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. Looking for a place to live is the grimmest activity.

Here are the three first places I saw:

1: Overpriced, kind of unpleasant, run-down townhouse. At the end of the tour I asked the lady if there was anything else I should know about it. A haunted YET ODDLY ANGRY look crossed her face and her lips went very thin and she gritted out: “Someone died here two and a half years ago. I’m only required to tell you about for three years afterward. SO.”

2: An apartment in a large complex. Nothing interesting… until you got to the part of the tour where both bathrooms were side-by-side. With a door between the two toilets. The manager-lady (who had insisted on photocopying my ID, “because she had to know who she was going out on the property with” – WHAT IS THIS, AN APARTMENT COMPLEX/NUCLEAR FACILITY?) refused to acknowledge that there was anything humorous about this. “It’s convenient,” she insisted. …why? So you can… pass reading material back and forth? WHAT IS CONVENIENT ABOUT HAVING TWO TOILETS NEXT TO EACH OTHER???

3: A small house in the Valley. It was unpleasant, poorly-maintained, and there was a back house that took up most of the back yard and which hadn’t been mentioned in the ad. There was also an elderly blind man who lived in the guest house – “the caretaker”. And his “guide dog”, who was mangy and wearing a cone and who snarled at me. “I have a baby,” I told the lady showing me around (I was trying to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THIS STEPHEN KING NOVEL) “How does the dog like children?”

“Well,” she said. “They’d have to get used to each other.” (As the dog curls a lip menacingly.)

And then the tarp draped over the side of the guest house lifted in the wind, snapping back to reveal:

THREE SUPER CREEPY LIFE-SIZE CLOWN STATUES.

(No really.)

So. We’re staying put for a while. Our apartment is little, and the bathroom is directly off the kitchen, but at least it doesn’t have clown statues, ghosts, or tandem toilets.

Also. Christmas is coming, and I decided to rent a tree (yes – hold on, I’ll explain) from The Living Christmas Co.: a hippie outfit that will rent you a living tree in a pot and take it away again after a few weeks. Today Husband Guy was checking our bank balance, and he gets this very… odd thing going on with his body language. And he says:

“Did you–”

“Yes?”

“Did you spend 57.60 on… I mean, listen, it’s none of my business, but…”

“What? WHAT?”

“DID YOU JOIN AN EVANGELICAL CHURCH?”

And then he said that of course he supported my spirituality and whatnot, he was just wondering, because of the charge on our account from

LIVING CHRIST

Finally, I have been writing a lot of treatments, lately. I wish I had found this totally accurate Terry Rossio article about treatments earlier. Really – it’s eerie how 100% exactly true-to-life it is.

Man, I wish I were a better blogger! I will frequently be driving around and I’ll think “I should totally blog about THAT.” as I pass someone with a ridiculous vanity plate* but then I never do. Pfft.

Anyway. Here are two recent things I thought about, both relating to how nobody knows anything about anything.

Even professional writers think there’s a book that will contain THE SECRET

I was having a minor panic attack at work recently, and another writer dropped in and was all “Haha, I have panic attacks ALL THE TIME, whenever I start a new project I lie on the floor and cry” and then, in response to my wondering aloud if there wasn’t maybe a new screenwriting book available, one would that would tell me, once and for all, HOW TO WRITE, he said two things:

1) “I own every screenwriting book ever published.”
2) “I have this friend who also owned every screenwriting book ever published, until recently he purchased the latest release, sure that THIS ONE would solve his problems. He gets it home, he eagerly flips through it. He frowns. Pages back. Wait a minute! That’s his name! WAIT A MINUTE, that’s him giving an interview to the author, an interview he had forgotten he had given. WAIT A MINUTE. HE JUST BOUGHT A BOOK WHEREIN HE HIMSELF, DESPERATE FOR ADVICE, IS GIVING ADVICE TO THE DESPERATE. And then he decided to quit buying books.”

“Haha,” I said. “That is an amazing story! I mean, it would never happen to me, but it’s pretty funny!”

So, flash forward a week. The panic flared up again, so I just now I bought a screenwriting book (Invisible Ink) on Amazon, and Amazon was all “Would you like to buy this other book as well?” and I was like “NO,” because I remembered the above story. And I felt pretty smug, you know… I’m not falling for this! Sure, I bought ONE book, but no way am I going to buy ALL the books.

And then an hour later I panicked and got back on Amazon and bought The Coffee Break Screenwriter, because you don’t know. MAYBE IT HAS THE SECRET ANSWERS!!!!

I will report back.

Gay parents!

In general, I don’t really understand the anti-gay movement. As a married person, I am totally perplexed by the claim that someone else getting married in some way diminishes the amount of marriage available to Husband Guy and I. (In fact, we have spare marriage if you need it – just drop by whenever.) But the thing I really don’t get is the part where people get all “Children need to have a straight couple as parents!”

I guess maybe those people think that there are specific qualities of female parenting and male parenting that combine to form one giant MEGAPARENT. But that’s just… not what being a parent is like, man. Here’s what being a parent is like:

FADE IN:

EXT. EXTREMELY STEEP MOUNTAIN ROAD – TWILIGHT

Establishing shot of really steep road in like Utah. The road looks suspiciously slippery. A sheer drop to the left of the road.

A sign reads: NO GUARD RAIL, NEXT 100 MILES.

Another sign reads: SUCKER.

INT. CARDBOARD CAR

You’re in a car made out of cardboard and twine.

A person you thought you knew but who is in fact a virtual stranger is sitting next to you. In front of both of you, stapled to the cardboard, are matching sets of complicated controls, covered in indecipherable markings. The controls may or may not work. You have no training in operating the cardboard car.

Unseen forces remove the chocks in front of your wheels. The car starts to move down the narrow road. Slowly at first. Picking up speed.

You press what you think is the brake, but the engine REVS and you go faster.

YOU
What is happening?!?

SPOUSE
I thought you knew!!!

YOU
WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT?

SPOUSE
YOU READ THAT BOOK WHILE YOU WERE PREGNANT!

An ELK leaps out at you from the bushes beside the road! You swerve, narrowly avoiding it-

The steering wheel COMES OFF in your hands!

SPOUSE
You just pulled off the steering wheel!

YOU
Don’t snap at me! At least I took decisive action!

SPOUSE
Okay, okay. We’re going to have to steer through shifting our weight.

YOU
I don’t think that sounds like a good idea!

SPOUSE
Here comes the curve! Lean into it!

You REACH FOR THE ROOF to brace yourself. Your hand touches something… warm. Furry.

You look up:

The roof of the cardboard car is made of LIVE FRUIT BATS, an interlocking carpet of tiny flying creatures! They stare down at you with their creepy beady eyes.

One of the fruit bats CHITTERS menacingly.

FADE OUT.

That’s what having a kid is like.** You don’t know shit about shit! I just don’t see what the genders of the parents involved have to do with ANYTHING.

Of course, I guess it’s possible that Husband Guy and I have some kind of insufficient gender binary happening and that’s why we aren’t sailing around in a sturdy Volvo, listening to This American Life in a serene-yet-wryly-amused fashion all the time – that Ira Glass, what a delight!

PS, check out the MICHAEL BAYIFIER, where you can turn any image into an awesome Michael Bay picture, with cars, bombs, and all the Shias you can handle! Such as: Washington Crossing the HELLAWARE! (Not my joke – I salute the unknown creator.)

*like the time I saw a middle-aged lady in a sensible sedan with a plate reading I(HEART)DKC.
**It’s also pretty hilarious. For instance, my baby finds it extremely thrilling when someone runs the vacuum.

Terrible!

September 13, 2010

Yesterday we were driving back from dinner at the Good Girl Dinette (which is a kind of hipster-Vietnamese fusion joint – the waiter this time had really ridiculous hair and pretty silly shorts, but the food is okay) when something TERRIBLE happened.

So. Driving home, I pull up to this intersection and stop, because I want to turn right. I have the green, if that makes sense: the crosswalk to my right, parallel to me, has the “walk” sign on.

There is an elderly lady and her elderly-lady shopping cart waiting at the crosswalk. Not crossing.

Because TEN CARS are turning left from the opposite direction, even though that lady has the right of way and is standing there. Being elderly!

So Husband Guy and I get totally outraged about this, and I HONK SELF-RIGHTEOUSLY AT THE CARS.

WHO ARE BEING TERRIBLE TO ELDERLY LADY.

But the cars fail to notice my honking.

I’ll tell you who doesn’t fail to notice my honking, though: ELDERLY LADY.

She spins on her heel and fixes me with a vicious glare! HOW DARE I HONK AT HER.

“Oh! Oh! OH NO,” I say. I make awkward flapping gestures with my hands, trying to convey that – please! You have the right of way, ma’am! Please cross! I was just trying to stand up for your elderly-lady-crosswalk rights!

But she gave me a FUCK YOU stare and gestured angrily until I slunk around the corner.

IT WAS SO AWFUL.

(as gleaned from a single reading of the Wikipedia article on him)

1) He enjoyed “playing” “single stick”: a “game” where you BEAT EACH OTHER WITH CUDGELS.

2) While campaigning in 1912, there was an attempt on Roosevelt’s life: a bullet went through the FIFTY PAGES of his speech and lodged in his chest. As he wasn’t coughing blood, Roosevelt decided that the bullet hadn’t actually gone into his lungs, so he declined to go to the hospital and instead went on to speak

FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF

(DUDE HAD JUST BEEN SHOT. DIDN’T GIVE A SHIT.)

3) He was NYPD Police Commissioner before he was President. He would walk cop beats late at night and early in the morning to make sure they weren’t holed up snacking on donuts. Also, he formed a crack bicycle squad/rapid response cop team.

4) Roosevelt disliked the nickname “Teddy” and preferred to be called “The Colonel”.

5) His first wife died after giving birth to their daughter. Roosevelt X’d out the day in his diary and wrote: “The light has gone out of my life.” and then never spoke of it again.

6) He is the only president to receive the Medal of Honor.

7) While on an expedition in South America, he contracted malaria and became super sick and couldn’t talk, except for endlessly repeating the first line of Kubla Khan: “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree…

8.) He created most of our national parks! Without Teddy Roosevelt America would basically be one giant strip mall.

9) He coined the phrase “square deal”.

10) When he died in his sleep of a heart attack, then-Vice President Thomas Marshall said that: “Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.”

Damn straight! Roosevelt would have beaten the crap out of Death WITH A CUDGEL.

So there you go – awesome facts about our 26th president.

Theodore Roosevelt, as painted by John Singer Sargent (1903)

Ahh – have you seen TubeDubber? It lets you combine audio from one Youtube clip with video from another. I am of course way too lazy to do that myself, but NOT too lazy to look at other peoples’ creations, such as:

Maru the box-loving cat plus M83 – epic! Touching! Sci-fi at its best! You will probably say “Oh my God, it’s full of stars!” at some point.

Boston Dynamic’s Big Dog robot plus Royskopp – freaky AND jolly!

(Sidebar: I love watching videos of Boston Dynamic’s robots. LOVE IT. In my next lifetime I would like to be some kind of DARPA developer.)

Finally, this one, where a Snuggie commercial is overlaid with the Trick Daddy song Take It To The House is STRANGELY COMPELLING. I DARE YOU TO WATCH IT.

Mildly fabulous in 2010

August 10, 2010

I have been holding off on saying anything, because, WHAT IF THEY TAKE IT AWAY, but I’ve actually been doing it for a week or so and they moved furniture into my office and gave me a printer, so I now feel semi-secure in saying:

I got a job – I am a writer-in-residence at Studio X. AKA a professional screenwriter.

AKA I CAN AFFORD TO BUY A COUCH INSTEAD OF FINDING ONE IN AN ALLEY SOMEWHERE!!!!

!!!! YOU GUYS, DREAM JOB+NON-ALLEY FURNITURE!

I am pretty excited. I basically feel like I won the lottery. (Which I kind of did, frankly. I will not rain on this post’s parade by being all WAAAAHHHH IT IS HARD OUT THERE FOR A BABY WRITER, but… you know.)

It turns out that this glorious turn of events doesn’t change anything (well, the non-money parts) about being a writer. I was trying to roughly outline something just now and I kept going

OH GOD

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS

HAVE I EVER EVEN SEEN A MOVIE??????

And I was talking to writers here who are QUITE fabulous, like GENUINELY so, and even they were all “Oh man, every time I go to write something I forget how to TYPE.” – so I guess it never gets better, you just get nicer couches to sit on while you’re panicking.

(Which, don’t get me wrong, is no small improvement if you’ve been sitting on a really uncomfortable futon… for instance.)

So anyway! There’s my good news.

Also, check this out: CARROT BACON.

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