If so, I highly recommend a little thing I like to call “procrastination”. You might think you can’t do it, but you can! Here are some pro-tips from me, Elana, ACE PROCRASTINATOR:

1. Create playlists on IMeem. You can spend hours looking for music, checking out other peoples’ playlists, and creating semi-ironic all-Gordon-Lightfoot playlists that you delete before anyone can find them.
Time you can waste on this: at least an hour per playlist.

2. Read the hot new script that just sold for eleventy million dollars. Vacillate between “This isn’t very good” and “Maybe it IS really good, and I just can’t tell because I’m a dumbass”, then go back to “No seriously, wtf is going on here.”
Time you can waste on this: It really depends on if you can get another writer friend to complain with you or not.

3. Look up excellent dogs on petfinder.com.
Time you can waste on this: practically unlimited.

4. Get very excited about HBO’s upcoming adaptation of Generation Kill. Flip through the book again in preparation for watching. Google to find out what happened to everyone in the book. Discover blog by Marine officer featured in book. Obsess over truth in journalism for a while, but then get distracted how it is that the military is able to train people to be such extremely clear writers, and if there is maybe a course SOME OF US could take so as to be less with the rambling.
Time you can waste on this: you’ll naturally want to pull out all the other military (auto-)biographies you will be perplexed to discover you own, which will probably lead to you reorganizing your bookshelf. So you can pretty much expand this one to fill any amount of time you have available.

5. Discover with amazement that there are huge numbers of people with Harry Potter-related tattoos.
Time you can waste on this: really only about five minutes.

6. Covet this handy WTF stamp, ideal for anyone forced to work in an office and deal with your localized variant of TPS reports.
Time you can waste on this: Two minutes, unless you actually own the stamp and work in an office, then unlimited.

7. Check out all this excellent graffiti. My favorite is the BEWARE OF THE DOG, HE IS VERY SARCASTIC one.
Time you can waste on this: Five minutes to read the article, ten minutes to fantasize about a sarcastic dog who would go “Hey, is that t-shirt vintage? I thought it was. It’s really cool.” if you took him for a walk on Melrose.

Sarcasm!

And finally, an anteater:

Naomi sent me this:

It’s a news anchor starting off the broadcast by saying that his co-anchor Dana is off tonight, and then not pausing long enough before segueing into the next story. Man! That was unfortunate.

Here is my new favorite Barack Obama picture. You can click on it to make it bigger. Which you will want to do, as he is doing the WHITE MAN’S OVERBITE:

Presumably to calm the many white dudes who are all “Well, I WOULD vote for him, but… he’s so cool, I dunno, he makes me feel bad about myself.” NO WORRIES, white dudes, Barack Obama is willing to look uncool if he has to. He’s a uniter. In that picture he’s like two minutes away from breaking out the roll-the-dice dance move! He is your people.

INT. BRAIN – DAY

June 24, 2008

You know how if you use the Google toolbar, it will anticipate your searches?

I was just searching for WHY DON’T HUMANS HAVE WHISKERS and the searches it helpfully thought I might want to check out were:

WHY DON’T YOU AND I GET TOGETHER
WHY DON’T YOU GET A JOB
WHY DON’T WE GET DRUNK AND SCREW
WHY DON’T DOGS HAVE BELLY BUTTONS

“Why don’t dogs have belly buttons,” I scoffed. “What kind of weirdo would google that?”

Of course, then I remembered that, OH YEAH, I myself was momentarily obsessed with the thorny HUMAN WHISKER QUESTION, and my sense of superiority slunk away and hid under the porch.

CONCEPT ONLY: PASS

June 20, 2008

Two things happened recently, to wit:

1) I stupidly read a bunch of studio coverage. (It was there and I was bored. Also, I am a sucker.)

Oh man. I had forgotten that studio analysts are HARSH. And SARCASTIC! To the point of practically drawing in little rolling-eye graphics to indicate the fullness of their disdain! This one dude kept being all “I don’t know what the writer was going for, but he obviously failed miserably“. They didn’t like ANYTHING. They could barely get beyond the occasional “Page 42 wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read. I suppose.”

And a lot of these were scripts I had read and might have been kind of “Well, I really liked the idea and the characters!” about. Some of these were scripts by FABULOUS WRITERS whose careers I wish to emulate!

2) I went to a table read hosted by my lovely friend J.

Why all of this made me nervous:

Writers have this impulse to write something, something super fantastic, and then you fall in love with YOUR WORDS (I don’t think I do that part very much. But now I’m paranoid.) and then when it’s done, it may or may not actually be super fantastic, you can’t necessarily tell. In fact, it might be sort of bad! You don’t know! You might even be a successful writer turning in drafts of a project to a big studio, drafts that are about to get torn a new one by a cranky analyst who moved to LA to become a writer but found himself sidetracked by a semi-cushy story analyst job and who is a little bitchy about that…. and you STILL don’t know. Nobody ever goes “Fuck it! Screw those people, I could do an awesome job, but instead I’m turning it in like this. Poorly-written, and covered in jam stains.” People TRY, and the analysts still don’t like it.

(As an aside: does this happen in publishing? Sometimes I feel like, in Hollywood, no one ever, ever, ever says “This is GREAT and I love it and don’t change a word”, no matter how many drafts and writers they go through. No one is ever happy with the product. “But it won this Oscar!” “Who cares, the third act was weak and the protagonist needs to be more likable and compelling. And more proactive and relatable. POOR ACROSS THE BOARD, PASS.”)

(As another aside, I feel that studio analysts WAY overuse the “poor” column. Listen, pal. You know as well as I do that this script by Big Honking Writer is not actually poor. If this script by a professional writer who knows how to spell is poor, how do you rate some dude’s unauthorized TERMINATOR VS. PREDATOR script he wrote on the back of a Hooters placemat?)

Anyway. This makes me FREAK OUT. My God, what if I have literally no ability to judge the okayness of my own work? I am generally pretty easily convinced that I am not all that glorious, but even so, I might be wildly overestimating how great I am!

I AM NEVER GOING TO POLITELY ARGUE WITH MANAGER-GUY ABOUT NOTES AGAIN.

Speaking of, Manager-Guy recently gave me the best and most stealthily hilarious note I have ever gotten. In my first draft, I had written a line where two brothers are saying goodbye in a Fraught And Dramatic Way and I said that they were tearing up. And Manager-Guy said, in this really sharp, decisive tone, “No they aren’t. THEY ARE NOT.”

See? THAT is a useful note. THERE IS NO CRYING IN HEIST FILMS.

***

Some links:
1) The rather delightful John August imagines studio notes on Puzzle Farter. It made me laugh in that way where you sound like you’re losing it.

2) Also: Daddy Likey, my new favorite blog. She’s a girl who lives in PacNo and blogs about clothes and is hilarious. Her most recent post is about search strings that brought lost souls to her blog, and includes this bit of glory:

“fred meyer” “sex toys”
You are so barking up the wrong tree.

(This may be something you need to be from Portland to understand.)

3) Do you read War Is Boring? It’s this blog by a freelance war correspondent. I am really, really surprised that no one has snapped up the rights to it yet. But I digress! What I wanted to mention was that the journalist, David Axe (COME ON DUDES, BUY THIS GUY’S LIFE RIGHTS, he’s handing you a big heaping heap of cool on a platter.) is currently in Chad, where he just got carjacked.

I piece together a lot of odd jobs in my attempt to both HAVE MONEY and BE AVAILABLE WHEN MICHAEL BAY CALLS AND ASKS ME TO DO A QUICK POLISH ON TRANSFORMERS 2 TO MAYBE ADD SOME DOGS OR WHATEVER. Today I am in the office of an Important Person here at the studio I often temp at. Working for Important People is always interesting. First, their offices are usually much quieter than the offices of Less Important People, which is counter-intuitive: it’s like the phone is too scared of getting fired to ring. Second, they always have interesting things lying around, like scripts or books they’re thinking of having adapted, or muddy shovels they just used to bury an underling’s body out in the lawn. What have you.

This particular Important Person is very nice (which is good. Many Important People are not very nice. Darwin is alive and well here in Los Angeles, where the weak are killed and eaten so that the strong may survive and rise to the top and make Seth Rogen vehicles.) but he ALSO has a meeting this afternoon with a writer about a property I totally love. I told Naomi, and she suggested that I, in ABC Family sitcom-style:

1) Cancel on the writers
2) Don a cunning disguise and take the meeting myself
3) PROFIT!!!!

Nice. I’ll let you know how it goes. Right now I have to cobble together a disguise that says DUDE ACTION WRITER out of readily-available office supplies. BRB!

PS: A man just walked in, asked me if Important Person was here (he’s not), and when told that he wasn’t here, walked past me and looked into the inner office himself, because clearly I was probably lying to him. Sweet.

I had a meeting this morning at Aroma Cafe, which has this enormous rabbit-warren of a patio. Aside from the fact that I person I met with was super-nice, the best things that happened were:

1) There was this crazy squirrel who hung out on the fence, inches away from peoples’ tables. All “Hey…. ladies. Ladies, over here. WHAT IS UP, GIRLS? You gonna finish that sandwich?” And he only had three legs! He was like a pirate squirrel, back from the wars.

2) This lady at the table behind us accidentally almost pushed over the parasol onto our table, and then said “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry! Did I get you in the eye?” She didn’t get anyone in the eye, but THEN she said: “My eyeball! My valuable eyeball! I need it for seeing!”

Which, because I’m chronically lame, is one of my all-time favorite joke structures. I had to take some calming breaths to stop giggling to myself.

Further, I just today found out about SOUTH AMERICAN BUSH DOGS. They’re small wild canids that live in Central and South America. Also, they’re endangered. Also, they look like OTTER DOGS:

They have webbed feet! Nobody tell Paris Hilton about these dudes or she’ll want one to cart around with her.

Girls and boys

June 10, 2008

Girls! I found this website you are sure to like! (You may also like it if you’re a dude. But probably not.)

Polyvore.com: it lets you make little outfits! It’s like paper dolls, but ON THE INTERNET. Thrilling stuff.

I also discovered that on Polyvore, there are many teen girls, and many of them have joined an imaginary prep school where they pretend to be rich and shallow and critique each other’s imaginary outfits.

I find that fascinating! And terrifying. Teen girls in general, I believe, are a dominant cultural force who have been ignored for too long. Their time has come! Soon the summer movie season will no longer be about Iron Man 4 or The Hulk Gets Busy but instead about Claire’s: The Movie!!! and Gossip Girl IS Gossip Girl IN Gossip Girl: Who Is That Bitch And Why Is She Wearing My Exact Same Outfit OMGWTF.

So there’s that. The other thing I wanted to mention is that I stumbled on another website, pretty much the polar opposite of the above:

Opsgear.com. Pretty much: paper dolls for dudes who are not in the military but like to think that they would totally ROCK THE KASBAH if they were Delta operators.

They sell clothing and supplies for the faux-military lifestyle. Every item they sell is either pitched as “Gear” or “Tactical” or both. Here are some examples! (I think that today, when I was describing the glory of “Sleep Gear” and “Tactical pants” to Naomi, she thought that I was maybe exaggerating for fun, but no.)

The item: one of those Camelbak vests that stores water and has a little hose-straw thing coming off of it.

The pitch:

The Delta-5 Tactical Vest combines revolutionary design, fully integrated hands free hydration, rugged pouches, and ergonomic comfort for operators who work in high-speed tactical environments. The Delta-5 is fully adjustable at the chest, waist and torso for maximum comfort while wearing bulky protective vests or field gear. Designed for serious operators, the Delta-5 is made with the most durable materials available: 1000D Cordura, Tuff-Tex, YKK zippers, thick nylon webbing, tactical grade mesh, and CamelBak design features. Includes 102 oz (3.1L) OMEGA Water Beast hydration reservoir with HydroGuard and HydroLink valve adapter.

!!!

FULLY INTEGRATED HANDS-FREE HYDRATION=built-in straw
RUGGED POUCHES=has some pouches
OPERATORS WHO WORK IN HIGH-SPEED ENVIRONMENTS=dudes who like to go car camping
DESIGNED FOR SERIOUS OPERATORS=unfortunately not actually owned by them
TACTICAL GRADE MESH=meaningless

I can’t tell you how happy “tactical grade mesh” made me today. I kept repeating it to myself and giggling.

Gloriously, there’s a customer review below the item. It reads:

Compared to my other vest (made by Special Ops) it is very light, manuverable, and doesn’t put too much stress on my shoulders. The only problem is that it hardly has enough room for all of my pouches, which is not much.

HARDLY ENOUGH ROOM FOR ALL OF MY POUCHES. You guys.

You know, I think I need to make some friends who like to talk about these things. I am the only girl I know who both likes to design outfits on Polyvore AND likes to read books about Delta operators and make fun of tactical grade mesh.

PLEASE APPLY BELOW IF INTERESTED.