Via my friend Chaia, this totally awesome trailer for a totally awesome Thai movie, CHOCOLATE:

“A special-needs girl… with a special need to KICK SOME ASS.”

That’s right. They said it. That’s how amazing it is.

I also like “NO WIRES. NO STUNT DOUBLES.” and “FROM THE BLOODLINE OF A YAKUZA AND THE WOMB OF A DANGEROUS BEAUTY.” and of course “VALENTINE’S DAY. TASTE THE FURY.” because nothing says romance like watching an autistic girl FUCK PEOPLE UP BY JAMMING THEM INTO INDUSTRIAL PIPES.

If you will excuse my language, I can only say: HECK YES.

(I also really like how her clothes are all kind of modest. There should be more lady fighters who do battle in full skirts or Hammerpants.)

OH INTERNET! I have so much to tell you.

Unfortunately, most of it is quite dull. I shall reduce it to bullet points for you:

*I flew up to Portland to help my BFF/Heterosexual Life Partner move back to LA. (She was gone for a year, but I wore her down through dint of a steady barrage of comments like “Wow, Portland is cold and rainy? How awful. LA is 72 and sunny.” and “I JUST SAW RYAN GOSLING AND HE ASKED IF YOU WERE SINGLE. Too bad you’re geographically undesirable right now.”)

*I flew to Portland on Jet Blue out of the Long Beach airport. I recommend everything I just mentioned. Long Beach is far away, but the airport is startlingly… not busy. And the security lines are non-existent. And because the architecture is “modern”, you pretty much feel like you’re on Mad Men.

*Portland was excellent! Cold, crisp weather! Many sturdy dogs! My relatives, who are outstanding and hilarious (my uncle Dean just started a blog and named it DEAN’S RHETORICAL FLOURISH) and who took me for noodles! Thumbs up, Portland.

*Portland has a lot of men in flannel and knit hats and beards, which is a look I find very fetching. In LA, a man who looks like that is probably a hipster who pays 3000/month for a “loft” downtown, which is DISAPPOINTING. (Lofts in LA are almost never cheap converted industrial space populated by poor, edgy artists, but instead converted insurance offices or more often just apartments built to order. And are expensive. And populated by… the kind of person who wants to say “I live in a loft, man” without actually having to live in a loft. )

So in Portland you see guys like that and think things like “Oh man! That guy could totally be a carpenter!” but unfortunately Portland is like 98% hipster, so most of those men are actually art school graduates who are really into organic haircare products. BUT STILL. There’s that brief moment where they COULD BE LUMBERJACKS. YOU DON’T KNOW.

*I often have fantasies about running away to become a vagabond, living in a Winnebago, traveling from town to town… ETC. But this roadtrip from Portland down to LA was so much with the sore butts and the dull landscapes and the listening to the same 6 CDs over and over because we’d packed the other ones that I am reconsidering my plan! (And mind you, this was a trip I spent with Naomi and her dog Buddy, two of my favorite… people (dogs) in the world. So I may simply not be cut out for life on the road.)

*When we got to LA, we tried to get off the 5 and onto the 10 to get to my house, took a wrong turn, and got lost in the wilds of downtown LA. If you’ve never been in the sketchier parts of downtown LA late at night, you know… it’s sort of like “Pinata superstore!” “Homeless camp!” “Pack of wild canines!” and it’s relatively easy to get lost. So we had a moment of “OH GOD!” but then we saw a white man in tight pants and I said “TURN RIGHT HERE!” and sure enough the trail led us right into a hipster corridor that took us into Koreatown and then home. PHEW.

*The next day we struck out on errands, and wound up walking past TOAST, which is a restaurant that has perfectly fine breakfast food but is also (I assume because it has outdoor seating on a busy street so people can admire you) a kind of douchebag depot. It’s all “Guys with jeans with pocket flaps” and “Bored-looking girls with Chihuahuas draped across their forearms” and “Four girls waiting for a table, all wearing maxidresses with lots of cleavage on display and all on the phone talking loudly about what a long wait there is today, my God, it’s almost not worth it”.

Normally, you get so used to LA’s high dbag quotient that you don’t really notice it, sort of like the smog. But after being in PacNo, it’s REALLY noticeable. (Also sort of like the smog.)

*I saw JCVD, a Belgian movie (yes, there are subtitles. DEAL WITH IT.) about Jean-Claude Van Damme getting mixed up in a post office robbery. I cannot describe to you how much I loved it. Although I was totally embarrassed that there were various action-movie shoutouts where the only people laughing would be all the male action nerds AND ME. Sigh.

You should totally see this movie! It was really entertaining and Van Damme’s performance is excellent (and really sort of… courageous, I think?) and if you’re an action movie fan you will love it.

*Last night my young man took me to see Chandni Chowk to China, a Bollywood kung fu movie. We normally do not really bicker about things, but post-film, our conversation was like this:

YOUNG MAN
What did you think?

ELANA

YOUNG MAN
I really liked it.

ELANA
IMPOSSIBLE.

YOUNG MAN
Are you serious?

ELANA
Are you serious? HOW COULD YOU HAVE LIKED IT? What about the part with the animated potato? COME ON.

YOUNG MAN
It was committed to its own over the topness.

ELANA
What about the part where the training montage happened two hours into the movie!!!!

YOUNG MAN
I can’t believe you didn’t like it.

ELANA
Nobody could like it.

YOUNG MAN
The couple behind us liked it.

ELANA
Oh, the hipsters who said “That movie was an amalgamation of all glorious films since the beginning of time, except for the SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION”?

YOUNG MAN
Exactly.

ELANA
But they’re hipsters! Hipsters are all about pretending to really love things they don’t actually like.

YOUNG MAN
No, they really liked it. Because it was awesome.

ELANA

YOUNG MAN

So if we split up it probably won’t be for fancy dramatic things like “He left me for a French stewardess” but because we argue about foreign films a lot. AWKWARD.

*I had a pitch meeting and afterward the intern who’d been sitting in came up to me and said “I loved your energy!” and I didn’t know what to say, so I inexplicably blurted out “I AM ACTUALLY JUST AN ASSISTANT.” and then that kind of just hung there as the intern felt embarrassed for me until the girl came back with my parking validation.

*Today Naomi and I were at a bookstore and this woman had two little armdogs with her and the dogs were horribly behaved– kept running away to bark at some poor guy, snarling at a passing toddler, etc. The woman would get flustered and then offer nonsensical excuses for the dogs’ behavior: “I’m so sorry! They thought your child was another dog!” as though that somehow excused the fact that HER DOGS WERE DICKS. AND SHE COULDN’T CONTROL THEM. Someday, when I have a dog, I promise to a) not bring my dog into bookstores with me and b) to take action if it is being a jerk.

Finally, a pleasing link:

Make your own vanilla extract. Presumably less fun and adorable but still possible if you don’t have a four-year-old helper handy.

Redundant

January 7, 2009

I just saw this headline: Church of England pens prayer for the redundant and unfortunately because I’m not English my brain thought it meant, you know, “A prayer for the redundant” (that is, someone who says things like “So there I was at the ATM machine–“) and not “A prayer for those who were recently laid off at work”.

And now I am EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED.

PS, Married to the Sea excellence (HUMORLESS REPUBLICANS SHOULD LOOK AWAY NOW):

Republican Gin Rummy.

Rambo!

January 3, 2009

Happy new year! Please enjoy this essay by the late David Foster Wallace: This is water, this is water.

***

I recently saw Rambo: First Blood for the first time. I’m not sure if it’s because it was an early version of a certain kind of action movie and so feels dated, or because it’s… sort of lame, but I spent a lot of the movie laughing at things like Rambo making himself a poncho, Rambo killing a pig in the woods, Rambo disguising an oil drum by dint of casually laying a single small branch over it.

But then there’s this scene at the end, where Rambo is trapped in the police station and his old commanding officer comes in to talk some sense into him, and Sylvester Stallone has this confused, agonized monologue about the impossibility of a soldier reintegrating into a peacetime society. And the living room I was in fell completely silent, because we were watching a genuinely great performance of genuinely great writing, and we were, uh, moved.

There’s this non-fiction book about West Point, and the author at one point talks about how West Point is basically an irony-free zone, and I sometimes think about that, how most of us are absolutely drenched in irony all the time, just congenitally unable to take things seriously, and how that both makes life significantly more hilarious/less lame, but also tends to kill your ability to appreciate things in a way that doesn’t involve a raised eyebrow.

So I guess the joke’s on me. Sylvester Stallone is probably going to come over to my house and go “YOU KNOW HOW YOU LAUGHED WHEN I BLEW UP THE GAS STATION? THAT PAID OFF, DIDN’T IT? WHO’S LAUGHING NOW?” and I will look embarrassed and apologize for making fun of Rambo’s pants.

***

I have this friend who lives in a pretty unremarkable section of Venice near Abbot Kinney, and when I go to visit I park around the corner, where the drug dealers conduct their business. The reason I know that they’re drug dealers is that once I arrived at my friend’s front door and said “Who’re the guys lurking suspiciously at the end of your street? Are they homeless dudes or like cops on a raid?” and he said “I think they’re drug dealers.”

And I said “!!! WOW.”

And he said “But they’re really mellow drug dealers! You may have noticed that they appear to ride their bikes around a lot.”

I guess how street-corner drug-dealing works is that everything pretty much happens from your car. (PS, Americans are SO LAZY. We can’t even get out of our cars to buy drugs. That’s lazy.) That is, you drive up to the corner in question, look around in a kind of “Gee, I wonder where a fellow could score some cocaine around here” way, a guy comes over and takes your order, money and drugs change hands, and BOB’S YOUR HIGH AS A KITE UNCLE.

What’s excellent is that this particular corner is a four-way stop, so you HAVE TO stop at the corner, whether you want drugs or not. And sometimes if you hesitate for a split second too long before pulling away, a guy will approach your car in the exact same way salespeople at Best Buy will approach you if you hesitate too long in front of a TV, and then you have to wave him off in an awkward way, “No, thank you, no drugs for me… Not that I’m judging you or anything like that. How’s it going?”