Good news, everyone!

April 28, 2008

Amy Poehler and Will Arnett to have world’s most hilarious baby!

SUCH GOOD NEWS. Our stocks of awesome humans needed replenishing.

(Can you imagine the pressure on that kid, though? Geez, it’s like growing up with two brain surgeons for parents, except instead of “…wow, you dropped out of med school? No, no. I’m just surprised.” people would be all “Look, I’m sure you have your own talents. Not everyone can be funny.”)

Did you guys, speaking of Will Arnett and hilarious things, see 30 Rock? I don’t understand how they can pack so much greatness into 22 minutes. The porn video game! The Amadeus references! BUSINESS DRUNK. The Uncanny Valley concept as illustrated by Star Wars!

“A porn video game can’t be done. History’s greatest perverts have tried: Walt Disney, Larry Flynt, the Japanese…”

I think that tonight I will watch it again.

Something else I would recommend watching is Carrier, a limited-run docuseries currently airing on your local PBS affiliate. It is so excellent! (I told Naomi to watch it, and she said “I don’t think I find aircraft carriers as soothing as you do.”)

The only thing I didn’t get was that the opening sequence is set to The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done”, you know, with the refrain of I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier?

…yes, that’s right, I believe that you will find that you’re in the Navy.

Even so! I think it’s excellent, and you should watch it. It’s sort of like watching The Office if Dunder-Mifflin Scranton were afloat and you got like 20 Todd Packers and gave them all Hornets.

I had this amazing revelation last night!

(When I tell you what it is, you will say “WHAT? You have low standards for revelations!” and you will be right.)

So we were watching Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and I kept thinking things like “Man, this movie is so hilarious! I like everything about it! It’s like one of those semi-misogynistic comedies you feel guilty for laughing at, only this one has this awesome WOMEN’S LIB plot– I bet Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s lady wives are totally right on.” and “I love Paul Rudd.” and “High-functioning mental retardation has never been this funny!” when SUDDENLY, during the speech where Ron Burgundy explains to Veronica Corningstone that he’s “Kind of a big deal”, I REALIZED:

Daniel Day Lewis clearly based his portrayal of Daniel Plainview on Ron Burgundy. Here is my evidence:

*The mustache!
*The inflection!
*…okay, that’s really it.

But man, they’re totally close. HERE:

Is that a crazy likeness or WHAT?



40-Year-Old Virgin becomes Bring Me My Bow Of Burning Gold!:
Ralph Fiennes stars as paralyzed novelist Malcolm Entwhistle-Twight. Able to communicate only with a complex series of clicks and whistles, Entwhistle-Twight finds and loses love during one balmy English summer, even as he struggles to complete his final chapter before he drowns in the fluid filling his lungs.

Knocked Up becomes The Gamekeeper’s Daughter:
In this searing tale of class struggle, forbidden lust, and hunting accidents, Jeremy Irons is the scion of a noble family fallen on hard times. Fleeing from the grinding responsibilities of repairing the roof and talking to his horsey wife, he finds temporary relief in the arms of Ffion, the gamekeeper’s daughter. When Ffion is revealed to be in the family way, Irons panics and mopes about for an hour or so before it all ends in tragedy.

The Pineapple Express becomes The Sunless Sea:
In this Victorian gangster period piece, two guys from BBC shows you’ve never watched (“BALLYKISSANGEL” and “OUR FRIENDS IN THE NORTH”) find themselves trapped in a maelstrom of dangerous hallucinations as they smoke a lot of opium in Shanghai and race (but in a slow and confused way) to stay one step ahead of a local gangster.


Can you tell that I’m procrastinating? Someone come over to my house and tell me to finish my draft! And also maybe tell me to stop googling things like “ROOT CELLAR”. (I’m googling “ROOT CELLAR” because it’s 96 degrees out, and I bet a root cellar would be a really cool, relaxing place to write procrastinate.)

1) There is this thing I am supposed to be writing. Instead I am deeply interested in this OTHER thing. Why does that always happen? When I was halfway through my apocalypse spec, I got very interested in writing about an UNTITLED TEEN ASSASSIN. Hmmmmmph.

2) CHECK OUT THESE DEEPLY AWESOME TERRARIUMS (terraria?): they have dinosaurs!

This one is my favorite. He’s all RAWR! NOM NOM NOM.

3) Don’t forget to go see BABY MAMA this weekend! Do you like girls? Do you like laughing? My roommate came home from a screening last night and she was STILL giggling.

Also, this is kind of a situation where you have to vote with your feet*! Are you sort of over comedy after comedy about some unfortunate-looking nerd who hooks up with an unrealistically hot lady (who, naturally, is grateful for his attentions, because have you SEEN Katie Heigl? WHAT A DOG.)? Yeah, yeah, nerds deserve hot chicks too, WE GET IT.

Anyway! If this movie bombs, a whole bunch of people will use it as an excuse to buy EVEN MORE comedies about mildly misogynistic geeks hooking up with grateful jailbaity supermodels in Tahiti, so for THE LOVE OF GOD, slap down your money and buy a damn ticket.

4) My sense of humor is sort of inappropriate, so these completely ridiculous Blackwater motivational posters strike me as super funny. If you’re the kind of person who’s very into justice and the rule of law, they will probably just depress you.

A small sampling:

“Man, remember when we had to crawl everywhere we were going?”

“Do I ever! That really sucked.”

“Yeah, and remember how lame it was when we had to wear those rags tied around our head and people made fun of us and called us John Rambo?”

“Totally. Evolution rocks.”

“So, Todd, you’re a Blackwater mercenary?”

“I prefer “soldier of fortune”.”

“Okay. So what kind of training do you do?”

“All kinds. Precision skydiving… having four parachutes at once… rappelling down pre-fab buildings… And of course there’s The Crucible.”

“What’s that?”

“Wearing sunglasses at night and thinking about how incredibly cool you must look.”

Quick! Word association. I say BLACKWATER, you say…

GLOBAL STABILITY, am I right? Of course I am. First thing that comes to mind.

Ahahahaha. BAT SIGNAL.

And now, my favorite:




*Is it “vote with your feet”? I have this problem where about a third of my brain thinks in Dutch, and I often get idioms SPECTACULARLY WRONG, only to realize that you can only say that in some other language. So it might not be “vote with your feet”. All I’m saying is, SPEND MONEY ON TINA FEY, she’s a good investment.

Here are some things that happened this week:

1) Have you ever noticed that youngish guy execs like to talk like they’re Recon Marines? For instance, they might be going to lunch, and they’ll wander around the office gathering each other and saying ridiculous things like:




To the untrained observer, it might seem like they’re going to do something crazy dangerous like head out on foot patrol in Fallujah. But actually they’re just going to get sushi.


Youngish guy execs! Who knows why they do anything.

2) I was hanging out with a bunch of other assistants and I had this sudden, shocking realization that maybe I shouldn’t live in Los Angeles, maybe I should… be the stay-at-home helpmeet of a 1950s submarine officer. Because here are some things industry assistants like to talk about:

*where to meet wealthy men
*which executive is going to get fired
*being drunk
*awesome things they did recently while drunk
*New Line

And here are some things I like to talk about:

*hilarious-looking dogs
*awesome military blogs I’ve read recently
*New Line

A total disconnect!

There is a movie coming out that has as its tagline GET SOME. And the girl I was working with last week said “I don’t understand that” and I said “What, “Get some”? It’s what Marines say. GET SOME! – you know?” and she said “But get some what, though?” and I said “They’re not getting anything specific! I don’t know, death and destruction. Manly things! Don’t you ever watch any war movies?”

And then we both looked at each other blankly.

3) Last week a soapy cable show about plastic surgeons was filming in the hallway outside the office I was in. And late in the day, when they were about to start shooting, I had to run upstairs for something. So I asked a PA if I’d still have time to go up and come down before they locked down the set, and he was all breezy (NEVER TRUST A BREEZY PA).

So I go up, I talk to the guy, I get on the elevator and come back down. And the doors open. DING.




HAHAHAHA. I had to try really hard not to laugh, because I was having that thing where you’re both totally embarrassed but you can also tell that this is going to make you laugh as soon as you stop blushing. You know? (Is that just me? That might just be me. I am always pissing people off by – in the middle of something sucky – being all “Man, this is going to be totally hilarious in like five minutes.”)

“…sorry,” I say. This lady is all “It’s okay!” but everyone was totally annoyed.

I, of course, was half-blind with embarrassment. So in a fit of genius, I head for the nearest door (ESCAPE! ESCAPE!), and the lady was all “Wait one second?” because they were recording room tone. So I stood there all faux-casually and then got the thumbs-up and went through the door.




So then I had to come back out again. Trying to look all “What? Oh, yes. I just had to go in there. For a thing. You wouldn’t understand.”


That was totally awkward.

4) I was at the library picking up a book on one of my many obscure, non-LA-assistant-appropriate interests (this one is about how moving from hunting and gathering to farming changes cultures) when I discovered that there is a series of romance novels for ladies wherein the heroes are ULTIMATE FIGHTERS.

I find this very interesting. And bizarre. One of the books, based on my perusal of the back cover, is about a man who is a former ULTIMATE FIGHTER and also an actor and also wrongly accused of murder and also he enjoys art galleries. And his butler is also an ULTIMATE FIGHTER.


Writing romance novels must be interesting! It looks like you can do whatever you want. “My hero is going to be a spy and also a thoracic surgeon and also he is going to be a great fado singer. Also he’ll have suffered greatly due to his colorblindness.”

5) This week I told a youngish guy exec that maybe instead of throwing small electronics around when he was stressed out he could buy “one of those balls”- you know, I meant those little stress balls some tense people have to squeeze and fling around? And he started laughing and then the other youngish guy exec in the room started laughing and be all “AHAHAHAH, you said BALL” and implying that I was talking about testicles.

I always find this so odd! Not offensive, just odd. I mean– why on earth would I suggest that someone buy a testicle? Why would I even be talking about testicles in an office setting? WHY WOULD I BE TALKING ABOUT TESTICLES AT ALL? That doesn’t even make sense!

*Once in a while someone will say LET’S DO THIS THING but I always assume that they’re being intentionally hilarious. Perhaps I am giving them too much credit! But the other option is too horrible to be contemplated.

April 13, 2008

It is VERY HOT in Los Angeles this weekend. Our apartment doesn’t have air-conditioning, so when it’s hot we spend a lot of time doing this:

Man, it’s really hot.

It so totally is.

[passage of time]

You know what would be good?

No, what?

Like, some iced tea.


But wouldn’t you have to heat the water first?

[long pause as this is considered]

You’re right, that would be awful.

I guess we could drive somewhere and get some that someone else had already made.

But the car seats would be really hot.

That’s true.

Yeah. I hate that.

[time passes]

It’s so hot.


I did my taxes today. I gave the government NINETEEN DOLLARS. Someone recently told me that you can write the IRS a check for any amount you want, just to be nice. “Hi guys! Here’s a little something extra for the deficit, or a cute pair of shoes.” But I’m not sure I believe this. It seems so– haphazard! What kind of way is that to run a major government agency?

I would like it if the government thanked you for doing your taxes. Perhaps a nice note, “Thanks for helping fund our democracy, see you next year!” or a Starbucks gift card for some token amount.


Here is the worst idea in the world:

Dinner In The Sky.

These are the thoughts I immediately had:

1) What if you have to pee? Does the whole thing have to land?
2) What if you have a coughing fit? You can’t step away from the table.
3) What if you’re seated next to someone amazingly boring? You can’t do that “Oh! I’m just going to chat with Phil for a minute” maneuver. You’re STUCK. IN MIDAIR.
4) What if you think you’re going to be okay, but then you get up there and have a panic attack and can’t hold it together and realize that you’re way more acrophobic than you thought?
5) (Ladies and Scotsmen) What if your skirt is kind of wafty? You’d spend the whole meal trying to pin it down with one hand, and pretending to enjoy your meal through teeth GRITTED WITH SHEER TERROR.

I showed it to my roommate, and her immediate response was: “What if you drop a fork? You could kill someone!”

I think this clearly illustrates that she is a much nicer person than I am, as all of my worries involved BAD THINGS HAPPENING TO ME.


I am trying to decide if it’s too hot to have soup for dinner. It is, isn’t it. Sigh!


April 11, 2008

So you know how the waters off the coast of Somalia (which is itself a lawless kind of place) are ULTRA lawless, and have actual pirates?

Recently some pirates hijacked (boatjacked?) a French yacht there. First, I don’t know why the French yacht was there. It doesn’t seem like the kind of place you’d just relaxedly want to cruise for fun. Second, French commandos had to go in and liberate the hostages, etc.

Isn’t it hard to take the idea of “French commando” seriously? All I can picture is fatalistic saturnine guys being all “Ah, what can you do? The pirates, they come and they go. Valentin! Where are my Gauloises Blondes?”

Even after looking them up on Flickr, I’m having trouble taking them seriously.

French commandos stand around and wait for things to happen, hands in pockets.

It must be really difficult to be a French badass. Non-French people are probably all “SURE, you’re here to take back control of this yacht. Uhuh.” and mocking! I bet it makes the French commandos really angry.

Nom nom nom

April 9, 2008


More than anything, I now want this lady’s writing career.

Helen Crawley is British! She lives on a farm and breeds obscure heritage pigs! She writes character-driven geopolitical epics! She has a spouse and a baby! I bet she has a DOG. Nay- a brace of dogs!

I am going to add “I would like a farm upon which to breed heritage pigs, please” to my List of Things, I believe.


One of the things I really like about my manager-dude is that he often sounds kind of surprised when I make him laugh, a kind of “Jesus, I can’t believe I’m laughing at that line” sound.

Another thing I really like is that he knows IN ADVANCE what kind of things will make me crazy and neurotic and so doesn’t tell me about them! Isn’t that excellent? I’m so impressed by this, I can’t even tell you.


I have mentioned before that I am OBSESSED with chain restaurants. I don’t know why: I assume it’s some combination of being raised on hippie food and being easily swayed by TV commercials.

Last night, my roommates and I had an excellent conversation about soup-based restaurants. And then we went to SOUP PLANTATION.

Soup Plantation is DEEPLY DISAPPOINTING. (This always – ALWAYS – happens when I go to chain restaurants. You’d think that I would have learned my lesson, but no. NO. Anytime someone is like “Do you want to go to CRAPPY MCCRAPPERSON’S CRAPTABLE?” I’m like “Man, their commercials look really delicious, let’s go!”) I can’t believe we went there! Everything was terrible. Their salads were — what’s the word I’m looking for, that means “limp and floppy and unappetizing”? FLACCID? Their soups LACKED FLAVOR. Everything was like “Here is a pile of crap and some bacon bits. ENJOY.”

You know what would be a good restaurant? A restaurant that just had different kinds of delicious vegetables. Like asparagus! And maybe artichokes, and grilled corn on the cob, and little steamed carrots, tossed with some lemon and parsley. NOM NOM NOM.

(I am not a vegetarian. I just really like vegetables. They’re delicious.)


I find that if I stay home and write in solitude, I go a little nuts. I just wander around the house wearing my Homer Simpson Head slippers and whine to myself. “This is the worst thing I have ever written! Ugh. No, wait. THIS scene is the worst thing I have ever written.”

So I’ve been taking El Laptoppo and going to Starbucks, which I know makes me One Of Those People, and I apologize. My local Starbucks is pretty good. This morning, for instance, it was a good mix of:

*homeless dudes napping
*kids studying for their bar mitzvah
*Japanese tourists who were confused that you can’t smoke indoors
*another writer who looked as tortured as I felt

But then I tired of Starbucks, so I came over to my local library. Which is ALSO a mix of homeless dudes napping, bar mitzvah-studiers, and confused people. There may be a local circuit.