This is a video clip of a tortoise who hates cats. And chases them around his yard. (Slowly.)

He’s like a very small M1 Abrams tank. I wish this clip had a stirring, Patton-style soundtrack. That’s the only thing that could improve it.

You should watch it! It’s more fun than you are currently imagining it to be.

I think the one thing that would ever make me want to be a dude is how much dudes get to swear. I mean, yes, sure, girls can swear. But there’s a fine line between a lady with a mouth like a long-haul trucker and someone sitting on a curb on COPS, being all “Hey officer! Can you light my cigarette for me? On account of how it went out when I dropped it in this here puddle.”

Something in me really admires well-placed profanity, I can’t help it. This is one of the many reasons I am enjoying the Generation Kill mini-series WAY TOO MUCH. (Unfortunately, it’s making me want to swear ALL THE TIME.)

That is all a long lead-in to the following:

Have you watched the Get Your War On animated promo? It is so awesome and wonderful and hilarious. I have watched it approximately nine million times. Every time the guy gets to the punchline, I laaaaaaaaaugh and laaaaaaaaaaaaugh.

“I’ve got a foot-long [beep]. Flaccid. And I drink lattes.”

That is just a really great line. MAN.

I also really like how Accounts Receivable Guy says “Hey, you.” It’s so affectionate and nice! And then the LATTE STUFF HAPPENS, and I laaaaaaugh.

Phew.

There was just a 5.8 earthquake here in LA. I am on the fourth floor of a building, and it was doing that ROLLING thing that makes you feel all upset in the pit of your stomach.

As I listened to people freak out, I found myself thinking:

IF I HAVE TO DIE, DON’T LET IT BE ON THE FOURTH FLOOR OF THIS STUDIO OFFICE BUILDING! ESPECIALLY NOT WITH THESE PEOPLE!

And then right after people were milling around, PLANLESS, trying to figure out what to do. Which… I would say that I am generally a pretty nice person, but there are a few things that turn me (in my head) into a raging cranky bitch, and one of them is PLANLESS MILLING. Someone needs to take control! Not me, because I just got here. I don’t even know you people. But SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE A PLAN.

Another thing that makes me grouchy is how after an earthquake you have to listen to a hundred people from New York talk about how awful it was and how they’re on the first flight back to Manhattan, IT WAS SO TRAUMATIC, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.

Then, just as I was getting really cranky (in my head) someone on one of my tracking groups was all “Question. How do we parlay this into a half day?”

Which made me feel like trauma happily brings out the hilarity in the kind of people who are devious and excellent.

All-nerd edition

July 27, 2008

Yesterday I had the BEST TIME with my friend Terrance. First, we had breakfast foods and he listened to me talk about various things I am thinking about writing. Then we decided to go to a COMIC BOOK STORE, so we ran by his wife’s office to tell her about our plan, and she made this kind of face:

“….”

Then we actually went to the comic book store. I had never been in one! Terrance said that comic book stores tend to smell like “Masturbation and shame”, which made me laugh so hard I had to put my head down on the table for a minute.

(Also, it turns out that they DO kind of smell that way.)

I was totally overwhelmed by the breadth of nerdery available to me in the store. I mean, did I want to read a comic about people assassinating superheroes? Did I want to read a comic about superheroes assassinating people? SO MANY CHOICES.

Finally we broke down and asked the Comic Book Guy what he would advise for someone who didn’t know anything. He knew EVERYTHING. I said “Well, I like things that are dark and depressing. Also, the apocalypse.” and he said “Try this WOLVERINE OMNIBUS”.

(He also suggested something where Batman turns into a vampire, but I ruined that moment by going “Hahaha. Batman turns into a VAMPIRE? HA HA HA.”)

Comic Book Guy was really knowledgeable and helpful and kind, and didn’t make fun of me when I said “So, these numbers on the covers, do they indicate the order in which you should read them?” or anything. Thanks, Comic Book Guy.

THEN we went to an area park and watched people play Frisbee. I also flipped through one of the comics Terrance bought. It’s about people who put out hits on jerky superheroes, and the Giant Studio he works at just bought the rights. I was reading the first few pages and I flipped to the next page and suddenly the top panel was people DOING IT, and I did that surprised blushing-laughing thing that I should probably get over, because I’m not TWELVE. How are people going to take me seriously in pitch meetings if I say “And then we cut to them DOING IT, ahahahahaha!” instead of a casual&totallyprofessional “Cue angry sex on her desk”? Sigh.

To close out my day of nerdery, I read the Wolverine thing Comic Book Guy sold me. It’s called WOLVERINE: WEAPON X and is all about how Some Dude got turned into Wolverine without anyone asking if he was okay with that. It’s really SAD. I kept wanting to hug Wolverine, except then I thought about how he’d probably rip you to shreds with his HAND CLAWS, so I guess really I’d look sympathetically at him from a pretty big distance and ask if he wanted some ibuprofen.

To conclude today’s all-nerd edition, please check out this excellent blog post by screenwriter Denis Faye about his time at Comic-Con:

Because I’m one of the few Americans who, for some reason, prefers to walk down steps twenty feet away rather than tromp a quarter mile for the convenience of using an escalator, I felt smug as well. “Ah,” I mused humorously, “stairs!”

It’s amazing how one word plus an interjection can come out so wrong. I meant it as a winking, “People don’t use stairs because they’re lazy — but not you and me!” Instead, it came out like this weird Spock impersonation. “Stairs? Fascinating! Tell me more about these ‘stairs.'” The guy stared at me coldly. I stammered for a second, but an explanation would only make things worse, so I turned and ran for the stairs.

Hee hee hee. EXCELLENT.

Overheard

July 25, 2008

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
(baby-talk cooing)
Ooooooooh! Who is this? Who is this? Isn’t he adorable?!?

OTHER FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Oh, thank you!

BABY (O.S.)
(inarticulate gurgling)

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Yes you are! Awww. Boo boo boo!

OTHER FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Hee hee! Well, we have to go. Time for someone’s nap…

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Oh, so soon? Bye-bye! Bye-bye!

Murmured goodbyes, a pause, elevator DINGS its arrival. A beat. Then:

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
(loud, strident)
I fucking hate kids.

So there’s this bit in the Hollywood Report about Evolution of a Screenwriter: A genre-busting generation is multi-tasking its way to the top. (You can read it here to check my math.)

I like to read these things whenever I start to feel a little bit too adequate. Very helpful in suppressing any latent tendencies toward repulsive vanity you might have overlooked.

This article is accompanied by a little cartoon illustrating the evolution of a screenwriter.

PANEL ONE: A dude in a green visor sits at a slanted desk and scratches out a script with a pen and ink pot.

PANEL TWO: A dude in a porkpie hat sits at a metal desk and types out a script on a typewriter.

PANEL THREE: A douche (male variety) in a HARVARD t-shirt and 80s jacket talks on the phone while idly tapping away on his laptop.

PANEL FOUR: A guy with a goatee checks out a message on his iPhone, turns up the volume on his iPod, and wears a backpack with a guitar sticking out of it. (Apparently, in the future, all screenwriters will be trust-fundies bumming around France.)

The illustration bothered me for some reason. I stared at it for a few seconds. Finally, it dawned on me. THESE WERE ALL DUDES. Screenwriter=person with y chromosome, obvy. It was like one of those marked/unmarked experiments you do in your entry-level linguistics class before you run out to smoke your cloves and adjust your beret.

THEN, something occurred to me. “Elana,” I thought, “You’re just being weird and paranoid. I bet the actual article, the giant cover feature that looks like it mentions many many writers and filmmakers, totally mentions one or two ladies. Because ladies write things or otherwise participate in the entertainment industry in many ways! It’s been that way for a while and is only rarely considered to be radical!”

So, in ANOTHER Comic Book Guy moment, I went through and counted. The author, one Jay A. Fernandez, name-checks twenty-three (23) writers, producers, managers, directors and multi-hyphenates.

Every single one was a dude.

How did this article go through multiple layers of editing and fact-checking and editorial meetings, and no one ever said “THIS ARTICLE IS A TOTAL SAUSAGEFEST, can we get some chicks up in here? There’s a lady somehow involved with the Terminator franchise, isn’t there? GET HER ON THE PHONE, STAT.”