Monday, October 31, 2005

See Ya Theo

Theo Epstein, the youngest baseball GM, like ever, decides to retire...or at least walk away. Crazy. This guy's got THE coolest job in the world and he leaves. Nuts. He'll probably try to write screenplays or something.
I Don't Mean to Be Cocky

But I bet if I jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge, I would be in the 2% that don't die. I can't explain it, I just feel it.
Maureen Dowd Having Trouble Getting Action

A long article on how tough it is for successful women to find mates.

I've got some advice for successful women who want to find men: BE COOL. I can't believe Dowd never talks about COOL. A cool chick, whether she is "successful" (ps - Dowd means rich) or not, will have men drooling and wanting to marry them - regardless of how attactive they are. I realize it's tough to be cool and probably something genetic.

Dowd is probably in the crowd that says, "No, it's cool to be successful and smart." Wrong, wrong, wrong. Cool is it's own thing, independent of intelligence, success, morality, appearence, etc. Cool means getting it. And cool also means not trying to be cool. She talks about 30s romantic comedies, ie screwball comedies and seeing herself in those feminine roles...what those chicks were was above all, COOL.

A perfect example of cool vs. uncool is the Brad Pitt woman fiasco...Jennifer A is very obviously NOT COOL, whereas Angelina, while being a weirdo, is definitely COOL. Does that make sense? He's not with her because she's sexy, but because she's cool. I'm not saying it'll necessarily last, but it's just a real world example explaining the difference.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

True Dat

"And part of the totalitarian ideology of Al Qaeda is that there shall be no ideology before theirs--ultimately, all the infidels must convert or die. That we aren't first on the list is a matter of political and military necessity, not an indication of any solicitude toward our ultimate fate. Does he really believe that it isn't their goal to "take over the globe"? From the standpoint of the threat, if they (and Saddam) are not the Hitler of the MSM mind, it's because they're Hitler in 1935, instead of Hitler in 1941. But while he made many strategic mistakes (which were his ultimate undoing, as hopefully will be the case for our new totalitarian adversaries), he didn't make the strategic mistake of attacking New York in 1935, as Osama did in 2001.

It would have been a lot easier to deal with Hitler in 1935, which is one reason why our casualties are counted only in the low thousands after over four years of war, instead of the large fractions of a million that it took to defeat our totalitarian enemies six decades ago, for all that the media would make of them."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I Never Thought I'd Say It, But

Today there is a huge need for ideas on political philosophy. Here is a scathing article by the Claremont Institute on the emptyness of liberal political philosophy.

I tend to agree with a lot of the sentiment in the article. I think it is the challenge for liberals to come up with a "pitch," or a summary in a few short sentances about what it means to believe in liberal government and also what type of government liberals stand against.

The article argues that liberals are good at policies and have policies on everything, but lack a overall "narrative" or idea that bonds these ideas together into something coherent. It is why we have trouble finding candidates and recently, of winning elections.

If you had asked me in 1998-99, when I was deciding on what to major in college if I thought by Politics, Philosophy, and Economics degree was going to be relevent, I wouldn't have been too optimistic. "Just something to major in," I would've said. But today, I do think the subject is terribly important. Maybe I'll have to dust off my Rawls and Nozick and Dworkin and to some re-reading.
I Feel Slightly Stupid

I get to SPO early this morning because who knows what'll happen with all the football traffic.

A medium sized black man walks into SPO rather confidently and says, "They changed this into a computer room?" A lot of alumni come by during football games.

"Yeah, it's for students and their productions."

"It used to be a small lecture room."

"Oh, did you go to the cinema school?"

"Yeah, I graduated around 1991. I'm showing my daughter around. My name is John Singleton."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Dead Baby

I'm way late to discuss the issue, but the big news around USC the past couple weeks has been the 21 year old girl dumping her baby in the garbage can outstide the 2-9 Cafe.

Apparently, the girl was investigated for doing the same thing in 2004 when she went to a hospital after obviously have given birth, but without a newborn. She eventually told police that her baby was a stillborn.

Regarding Music Downloading

I have mixed feelings about free music downloading. Most of me thinks it's the recording industry's own damn fault for overcharging for CDs and not utilizing technology to benefit the consumer. Instead, they opted to sue free downloading services, the exception, of course, is Itunes.

But on the other hand, users are stealing music.

The question then, is who ought to be held accountable for this problem. Should users be sued? Should downloading services be stopped? Should they be allowed?

I've said this before, but I think the most efficient solution is a business AND not a legal solution. I know that certain questions are ruled "political" questions and therefore courts do not take a position. I think music downloading poses a similar issue, but applies to business.
What Does It Mean?

I'm watching CNN, underwhelmed by the allegations about outing a CIA agent, blah, blah, blah. Are we expected to take this bullshit seriously? Or are these allegations deadly serious, but it just goes without saying that politicians will participate in something illegal throughout their career?

Either way, it sucks.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Was Meant to Make this Film

Someone has beaten me to the punch. I don't like how they've ripped off Michael Mann in the trailer. I suspect this film will not be great. It looks a little convoluted. And to be honest, I haven't thought much about Traffic after seeing it when it came out. I remember liking it, but it didn't stay with me. We'll see about this one.
Dumb Statement

People like Trent Lott who make stupid statements about never reading a blog will inevitably be proven wrong or continue to look like an old crotchedy fool.

Is the blogosphere taking credit for the Harriet Miers withdrawal? I must admit, it's where I heard all the cacophony of voices about her ineptitude...
It Would Be Comic

If they weren't actually serious. These hardline Islamicist dudes are true idiots. The new hardline President of Iran calls for the destruction of Israel. Yeah, the problems over there are the US fault. Sheez.
Writing Tips

From now on when I have writing block I will turn on a Tarantino or Woody Allen picture.

"Why do I have to be Mr. Pink?"

"Because you're a faggot, that's why."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Sheryl Swoopes, maybe the best female basketball player ever, has come out as gay. This ought to be a problem for the homophobes in the country. I myself rather like this development a) because I was never that sexually attracted to the 6'7" Swoopes, so there is no disappointment factor and b) because I think sports stars are great symbols for what's acceptable in the country. The obvious example is Jackie Robinson joining the Dodgers...still one of the greatest moments in baseball (and American) history. I think Swoopes coming out will get support from men and women all around the country, including NBA stars. And better yet, young women will learn it is okay to touch and kiss and fondle other women.
An Email Exchange

I find it amusing.

Friend at B-school: FYI, if you are interested, I also plan on going to this tailgate on Saturday morning...

you and your first-year friends should check out this tailgate we're throwing Saturday, sponsored by Sharkeez, only $6 for all you can drink Bloody Mary's and Screwdrivers! It's just about 100 yards up Trousdale Parkway from the Marshall tailgate, so it's easy to do both.

My response: why do all the marshall parties end up costing money to attend? what does it mean by being sponsored if there is an entrance fee? and isn't all you can drink standard for all parties?

okay, now i imagine i won't get invited anymore...which isn't my intention, i just want some clarification and am still bitter about that west hollywood fiasco. if you see derek tell him your friend still wants his and all his friend's money back. bastard.

Her Response: haha this is true....they fail to mention all these "extras" which end up draining your wallet by the time you end up paying for everything! .........I actually can't give Derek any shit because this one night when Danny was down here, we went out to a club that had a huge line and Derek let us go right into the front of the line and fortunately (for me at least!) ladies got in free before 10:30, so I didn't have to pay. I agree though about the hollywood clubs..they are notorious for that shit!

My response: all this ladies getting in for free is like making black people sit in a different section at the diner AND paying more for the food. outrageous.

Her response: oh stop.....if they didn't have that incentive, then there wouldn't be enough gals to keep you guys company!

My response: i can order a mail order bride from the philippines and it'll make me happy - but it wouldn't make it right.

Her response: why wouldnt it be right?? its a win-win situation! both of you find true love! ;)

Can't argue with that.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Story of the Red Pick Up

Epilogue: Alas, the story of the red pick up is not nearly over...the shoot itself was an entirely new adventure, maybe a sequel or maybe the back end of an epic. But I have decided not to include it on the blog for one reason - I am nervous that I will get in trouble with USC if the truth comes out. It is silly and against my principles, because it is a damn interesting story. But I will tell it to those in person and not publicize it. Too many people have been hurt by blog entries - the gay teacher, Alice, just to name a few, they have lost their jobs for being expressive and honest. I do not want something similar to happen to me, so we all suffer from the asshole rats and weasels that would use a blog entry against the blogger.

I will say this about the epilogue of the red pick up - it involves interpersonal drama of a film set, the threat of death, an awesome bridge, world famous beef jerky, rain, small town police, and student certifications. It is the closest I've come to freaking out on set, for reasons I feel are completely justified. But all is well that ends well, we are alive and the film is in the can, and a lesson has been learned...
The Story of the Red Pick Up

Later: I am out again with Alicia pick up coffee. It is around 5pm. I am telling her the story of the Red Pick Up, before it is complete. I decide to show her the pick up. We drive by the house. She sees the NRA pick up.

"It's perfect," she cries.

"Well, it's not that one, it's the other one over there."

"The big one?"


"That doesn't look right."

Who is this 19 year old to undermine me? She doesn't know anything. Who am I kidding, she's right on. We can't use the painting truck.

"You aren't even in film school, what do you know?"

"Fuck you."

We drive off. I tell her of the red chevy.

"Why don't you call him back?"

She's right again. Dammit. I call the guy back. He apologizes for not getting back to me. He gives me his brothers phone number. I call the brother. His name is Luis.

"I got your number from your brother, you own the red chevy for sale?"


"Well, we're looking to have someone drive it tomorrow morning for a couple of hours for a film shoot. We want to shoot it picking up a hitch hiker and then put the camera in the back of the truck and shoot the hitch hiker riding in the car."

"Well, I have to see if the truck runs, but yeah, I'll do it."

He call me back at 7pm - the truck runs. He'll meet us. Perfect. I will make movies. I will succeed. I am the best.
The Story of the Red Pick Up

The Midpoint: I am dejected. I have no leads. I am where I started, minus an hour. I have 1 hour before I need to go to Kmart and Chipotle. My best chances are past me. I am a failure. This is a microcosm of my life. I get close and then fail. I'll never make movies. I'll never get married. I'm going to be a huge loser.

All right, shut the fuck up, you whiny bitch.

I go out again, the best luck I've had so far is working on the residential neighborhood checking for "for sale" signs.

I drive down a residential street and see another good truck. Gee, I'm lucky to me out here in Montrose, where everyone has an old pick up. I call the owner. An old lady picks up the phone. She says her husband will meet me out front. I notice an NRA sticker on the truck. We'll have to greek that, I think.

I wait for five minutes. Where the fuck is this old fart?

A neighbor comes out of his house and looks at me. "You looking for Earl?"

"Yeah, he's coming out, I spoke to his wife."

He gives me a funny look. "You want me to call him?"

"I just spoke to his wife you dumb hill billy." I didn't really say "you dumb hill billy."

Finally Earl comes out limping around.

"Hey, you, you interested in the truck? She's a lovely vehicle, I just have trouble driving her anymore."

"Actually, I like the truck a lot, but am not interested in buying it, but renting it tomorrow morning. I'll pay $100 for 3 hours. You could drive it, or I could drive it."

"Oh, I'm not much interested in that." And he proceed to talk for 5 minutes about the truck from an obvious script he has prepared trying to sell it. I admit, it's a good truck, but I don't have much of an interest in buying. At least he got to practice his pitch.

"Do you know anyone who might be willing to drive a truck for a movie shoot?"

"No, not really."

"Any teenagers or something?"

"Well, maybe Danny...HEY DANNY. You interested in the movies?"

Danny is the next door neighbor, about 25, looks like a regular type guy living at home with the parents. He walks over.

"You interested in making a $100 tomorrow for 3 hours work?"

"Yeah, sure."

"Talk to this guy."

"I'm interested in having someone drive a pick up truck for a couple of shots in a movie. It'll take about 3 hours, we'll pay $100."

"Sure, I'll do it."

I thank the old man and walk down to Danny's house to see the truck. It's an early 1990s Ford F350, a mongo truck with double wheels in the back and a wire rack surrounding the bed. They use it for painting, I can tell. It looks beat up, but is too big and too new. But I'm tired and thinking this might be my best shot at lining anything up, so we exchange phone numbers and plan on meeting in the morning.

"We can use this truck or my other car."

"You have another truck?"

"Well, my Acura right here."

I look at a beat up, semi tricked out Acura integra. Is this guy mental or something?

I leave, unhappy, keeping two possibilities open - the guy with the good red chevy calling back and using a prop from out diner set the following weekend. But for now, we have a pick up lined up.

I go to Kmart and Chipotle. I am right on time.
The Story of the Red Pick Up

Closing Time
: I feel it. I will succeed. Guy has led me on a path that cannot fail. I have the 5 gallon tank. I will fill it up at Valero to repay the owner for hiring the 6 foot hick lady, who led me to Guy. These country folk are good people. Maybe I'll move to the country. People are nicer out here than in the city. I could see it, myself living in a small town. Life would be simple. All right, snap out of it, you haven't gotten the truck yet.

I head towards George, this kooky military guy. I feel charming and will be able to win over this weirdo. I am, despite being a city slicker, a trustworthy guy. People can see it in my face. These country folks can tell. I see the house. "No trespassing, private property," on a chain link fence surrounding the house. Of course. This is a good 'ole boy. A real American.

I look around for the buzzer. There is no way I'm invading this guys space - this time it's not out of fear, but respect. This is his property, who am I to invade without his permission? I look for the buzzer. I open the latch. It's crawling with ants. Disgusting. Sack up, you pussy, it's just ants. I hit the buzzer. No response.

There's a decent truck in the driveway that will work, but is not ideal. I figure at this point, it's around 9:30, I should be closing the deal. No one answers. I know someone is home, I can hear sounds inside. I buzz again.

Finally a man walks out. "George," I say, confident.

He stares at me from his porch.

A wave of nervousness hits me. Why isn't he responding? Is he holding a gun in the hand I can't see?

"Guy from down at Palmers sent me down here, said you might be interested in loaning a pick up for a movie production."

"There's no George here."

"You're not George?"


He's lying. I can tell. This paranoid freak probably thinks I'm someone from the Federal government spying on him and his bomb making facility in the basement.

"You know Guy at Palmers?"

"What do you want?"

"Well, I'm looking to pay someone $100 to borrow their pick up truck tomorrow morning. This one in the driveway might work..."

"I'm not interested."

Okay, you paranoid hick. Go back to your smelly ant-infested house you freak. Fuck these small town racist, provincial pieces of shit.
The Story of the Red Pick Up

Guy: What does a guy named Guy look like. I pull into one of those old mechnic shops that you always wonder, if you ever bothered to think about it, how can this business possibly survive? Inside are several old, shitty cars, and a few pick ups. One perfect brownish one with a plastic thing over the bed.

I walk up to a pretty normal looking guy with a moustache.

"Is Guy around?"

"I'm Guy."

"A lady down at the Valero gas station said I should come down and talk to you about finding someone who drives a pick up truck who might be interested in making $100 tomorrow for 3 hours work."

"What kind of pick up?"

"Well that one over there, the brown one, would be perfect without the plastic thing in back. We're looking for something old. Not like that red one..." I point to a shiny new, looking pick up at the car dealer next door.

"Hmmm. I don't really know."

"That one across the street would be fine, too, but this brown one here would be perfect."

"Well, that brown one don't run....I know this guy who helped on that new Jack Nicholsen movie - the one with aliens and stuff."

"Do you mean Mars Attacks?" Mars Attacks came out in 1996.

"Yeah, that's the one. He collects old military stuff and rented it to them for that movie." This guy sounds creepy. "He's got an old pick up. He'll help you out. His name is George, he lives around the corner."

"Do you have a phone number?"

"No. I just went to school with him, if you drive up past the Valero, take a right and his house is next to the school. The only one there. Tell him Guy from Palmers sent you."

Sounds like a good possibility to me. I thank Guy and turn around to see an old 5 gallon red plastic gas tank.

"Do you have these for sale?"

"You need one?"


"Go ahead and take that one. I've got ten of them at home."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, go ahead."

The Story of the Red Pick Up

Find a Picture Vehicle, Part II: Undeterred from my failure, I drive down the street. Out of the corner of my eye I see a perfect pick up truck in the driveway of a residential street. I turn off. I look down the street, three more perfect pick up trucks sitting in front of houses. Unbelievable. I see a red one with a "for sale" sign. I make the phone call and leave a message. I am too scared to knock on people's doors. Unfortunately, the types with the pick ups we need also carry guns and are wary of strangers. I move on.

The next gas station is a Valero. I enter. The phone rings. I exit.

"You called about the red pick up?"

I explain what I need. The young man says he'll talk to his brother and get back to me by noon. A good sign.

I reenter the Valero. A thirty-ish woman, at least six feet tall stands behind the counter. She has a mullet. Her shorts ride high. She has some type of hick tee shirt on. Perfect.

"Are you from around here?"


"I have a weird request. Do you know anyone with an old pick up truck interested in making a $100 tomorrow for 3 hours of driving around and being in a movie?"

She thinks for a moment. "No, but maybe my boyfriend does. He works down the street at Palmers. Go down there and ask for Guy."

This woman has a boyfriend? Eee gawd. How does she have a boyfriend and I not have a girlfriend? Not enough time for these thoughts.

"Thanks. Do you have any 5 gallon jugs of gasoline?"

"No - maybe down at the Arco."

Before continuing on with the Story of the Red Pick Up and other Hegira production stories, I will make a post on Clinton based upon a short conversation during our final night dinner at Outback Steakhouse.

It started with the question - "What President during our lifetime would be the most fun to party with?" Clinton is the obvious choice, we all agreed it would have been fun to party with the man, but also all agreed he'd probably sleep with our girlfriend while we were finishing the keg and talking about what a great guy he was.

Alas, I am kind of beginning to understand why so many conservatives hated Clinton, and more importantly, what he symbolizes. When I voted for Clinton twice (votes I don't regret) I used to snicker at his detractors, usually as nerdy, moralistic types and sometimes worse, as huge hypocrites, like Newt Ginrich. I still believe this to be true, that Clinton detractors chasing sex scandel stories are pathetic little men, mostly upset that Clinton was more gifted politically, intellectually, and with women than they were. But within this chorus of Clinton-anger, there were few reasonable voices saying, "look at how this guy treats his wife and family, he's not trustworthy, how can we trust him to be president." This reasonable point was lost on me under the cacophony of right wing loonies.

Today, I look back now on the Clinton years and feel a slight sense of betrayal, like the way Gennifer Flowers or Paula Jones or even Monica Lewinsky in her own weirdo way must have felt afterwards...

The betrayal, to me, is about the 1990s, a time when the Clinton White House delivered us a balanced budget, low unemployment and economic growth, a revered post Cold War America, no war, no real enemies, a generally euphoric time in American history. It felt frigging great. The world was our oyster. I imagine Genn Flowers felt that once, as did Paula Jones, and for a few minutes, Monica Lew...

But underneath this veneer was trouble, trouble kept hidden for fear that we wouldn't like the man as much. Rwanda. The rise of Islamic Fascism. The UN slowly turning into a ganster haven to be systemically used against the US and Israel. Trusting Yasir Arafat and giving him a nobel peace prize. Allowing the proliferation of nuclear technology to untrustworthy agents in the AQ Khan network. Paying off North Korea. These things all happened under Clinton's watch and we were never aware of them, partially because we were happy to be ignorant and blissful and rich and happy, and partially because Clinton wanted us to feel that way for a short time...

I can't blame Clinton the man for all of this, but I do blame Clinton the symbol. He is the symbol of making us feel good, without thought to doing good. It's hard to regret voting for him, but in hindsight G Bush I and Bob Dole both don't look like bad Presidents - certainly both of them are preferable to GW Bush or Kerry.

I also look at what Clinton has done, or more appropriately, not done, for the Democratic party. His talents disguised the fact that the party has become a non-entity, a reaction, a holding place for some talented individuals. The party doesn't stand for anything anymore and it's becomeing less and less relevant. All the interesting discussions are happening within the Republican party and the various wings of it. The democrats sit on the sidelines waiting for another Clinton like a kept woman.

I'm not bitter at Clinton, shit, I like the frigging guy. But I feel a little like a fool for standing up for him. I apologized to people about American's puritanism when it comes to sex. I joined in the criticisms of the loony right wing conspiracies against Clinton.

But in hindsight I feel like a foot because at the end of the day all that other shit doesn't diminish the fact that Clinton is a dirt-bag. A likeable dirt-bag, but still a dirt-bag.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Doing my director presentation on this guy tomorrow night. Chose him after seeing Providence and most of Hiroshima Mon Amour, both pretty different types of films, unlike anything I've seen.

The logical thing was to look at Marienbad next, the one they show you in all the crit studies classes. Unwatchable. 90 minutes felt like 4 hours. Can't sleep? Watch Marienbad.

Then I check out Hiroshima again. Didn't like the final 1/3 as much. I re-thought the movie after Marienbad. Maybe this guy sucks.

Watched Mon Uncle in America, a film he did in 1980. Was enjoying it. Had to stop at the final 1/3 because I had to be somewhere. Just watched the final 1/3. A good example of what Marsha Kinder would call database cinema. Has three overlapping stories, flashbacks, "dream-on" esque inserts, voice over narration by a cognitive scientist, who is also a character. Not unlike Providence, but more accessible. And this was 14 years before Pulp Fiction. The more I think about it, I think this film is pretty frigging awesome.

Watched Night and Fog, a 30 minute documentary about Concentration camps, a film Truffaut calls the "greatest film ever made." Yipes. Completely unsentimental. According to the book jacket, an anti-documentary. Tough to watch. It's more of an essay than a film. I'd call it the anti-Schindler's list.

Check out Muriel and the War is Over, found them both unwatchable and turned them off.

I'll be able to put together an interesting presentation...if the Cahier du Cinema folks say Hiroshima is the first "modern" film, I'd venture to say Providence might be the first post-modern film...couple that with making the best documentary EVER, and having two films on Criterion Collection, I'd say this guy, despite Marienbad, is worth doing a presentation on...
The Story of the Red Pick-Up

Finding A Picture Vehicle, Part I: Friday night. We sit around drinking and welcoming our cast and crew to the cabin. Melissa the AD, Phil the director, and Matt the DP have a clandestine meeting upstairs to prepare for the shoot the following day. Melissa comes down - she has a mission for the producer (that's me), we need to find a truck tomorrow while we shoot, so that we can get the truck shots Sunday AM.

I am reluctant - one day to find a truck in unknown territory? The spirit of filmmaking, however, is the can-do American optimism of Dr. Strangelove. I have no choice but to succeed.

After the crew gets rolling Saturday morning at the location, I take off in my Subaru Impreza down the mountain on a mission. 1) Find pick up truck 2) Get extra gas for the generator 3) Get long johns and beanies for frozen crew 4) Bring back Chipotle for lunch.

As I drive, my mind goes into action - be at Chipotle at 11am. Make stop at K-Mart, will need 1/2 hour. It is 8:15am and the drive down the mountain takes 25 minutes.

My first thought: I will stop at a gas station to get an extra gas jug and fill it up. The worker at the gas station will be a local and perhaps know someone with an old pick up truck interested in making $100 on a Sunday morning.

The first gas station I see is an Arco. In front are a group of teenagers on mountain bikes.

"Hey, are you guys from around here?"

"Yeah - well, from Riverdon (I have no idea what that is)."

"Do you guys know anyone who has an old pick up truck and is interested in making $100 tomorrow morning?" I pat myself on the back. Teenagers - what a great idea, they are reckless and don't have much money and drive shitty cars. That's exactly what we need.

All eyes turn to one guy, what about your old red pick up?

He smiles, "If it works..."

"What kind of truck is it," I ask, pretending to know about pick ups.

"'88 Ford."

"Sounds promising." I don't have a clue what an '88 Ford looks like.

"I can't do it tomorrow, I'm going to Seeton (some other place I've never heard of)."

We chat a little longer, no one else knows anyone with an old pick up.

I go into the gas station, they only have one 2 gallon jug for gas.

"Do you have any 5 gallon jugs?"


"Do you have another 2 gallon?"

"Just what's on the shelf."

Failure. I hop back into the Subaru to drive down the street. It is 9am.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Could Have Told Them That

Charitable donations are larger when solicited by hot chicks.
The Story of the Red Pick-Up

This story will be told in installments here at public musings.

Prologue: At the beginning of "Hegira," the short film I am currently producing, our protaganist, Brady Davis is walking along a long empty road. An old pick up truck drives by and Brady hops in the back. The movie takes place in the 1970s or thereabouts.

A "picture vehicle" costs in the range of $300 per day. We figured we could find someone with an old pick up and pay them around $100 to borrow it. We contemplated finding a vehicle in Los Angeles and driving it to the mountains, but ended up lining up a truck in a town nearby our location to be picked up the day before our shoot.

The day we were leaving for the shoot, the lady with the pick up informed our AD that the truck engine had exploded, leaving us with out a truck.

Next installment: Finding A Picture Vehicle

Thursday, October 13, 2005

No Blogging This Weekend
Oh, Stallone

Bad idea: Rocky V
Embarassing Idea: Rocky VI

*Speaking of which, did the film geeks know that Stallone WROTE all five previous Rocky films and directed II-IV?
The Worst

Picking up equipment is the worst aspect of production. In fact, I officially renounce all picking up of equipment.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Goddammit Leykis

Again on the way home tonight, Leykis is on my radio and I listen. A girl had called in and Leykis was explaining how a guy shouldn't talk much on a date because eventually he'll say something that will make the girl not want to sleep with him. He also said a guy that wants to talk a lot about his and her family, how they were raised, and all that kind of stuff is probably a homo. She said, what about if he wants to talk about politics, does that make him a homo? Leykis said, it doesn't make him a homo, it makes him stupid - because he should know you don't know anything about politics and talking about it isn't going to help him get in bed with you. She agreed.
Bill Maher

Bill Maher turns down the chance to roast Howard Stern:

"Robin wanted to know how the plans were coming for the roast that is set to take place on their first show at SIRIUS, which Howard said would take place on January 9, 2006. Gary told her that he has a bunch of calls out, but that only Bill Maher has officially turned down their request. Howard was surprised Bill said no and Gary and Robin agreed. Artie pointed out that Bill would’ve been perfect for the roast, because, not only does he hate Howard, but he is also smart and funny. Howard noted that Bill seems to still be holding a grudge against him because he said Bill was ugly on the air one morning."

I never knew Maher didn't like Stern. It makes me like him less.
Iraq and Why We Shouldn't Leave

For all the pragmatic talk about why we are failing in Iraq, why we should scale back or leave or try different strategies, etc, the question that needs to be answered is how our the withdrawing plan would be different than Beruit of 1983, Mogadishu, the Khobar Towers response, the response to Iraqi intelligence's plan to assassinate Bush I, and leaving Saddam in power after Gulf War I.

We have to acknowledge that the "cut our losses" strategy has failed miserably in the Middle East, that it has allowed the region to become less and less friendly and empowered fundamentalists and autocrats.

The intercepted letter from Zawahiri to Zarqawi shows what Al Queda is thinking about in Iraq and how they are hoping for another "Vietnam" when America decides on the domestic front that the war is not worth it.

War is about winning. And winning does not mean we cut and run and call it a draw. To win means that the other side acknowledges losing - an unconditional surrender. We need Al Queda and the Iraq "insurgency" to surrender and give up fighting. If it takes ten years, it'll take ten years. If it takes a hundred years, so be it.

If we leave without winning, it will be a short sighted relief, the lefties will clamour about not leaving early enough, be happy that GW Bush was proven to be an idiot, and meanwhile, Al Queda will claim victory in Iraq - prove that the US is a "paper tiger" and continue on. Their strategy of making a Caliphate will not work because the Muslim world doesn't want it, but they will continue to attack America in bits and pieces for the forseeable future.

We'll feel safe like we did in the 1990s, but we won't be safe.

UPDATE: Interesting WaPo thoughts on the Zawahiri letter. He's asking Zarqawi for money. Huh. That's weird - and good, I think.
I Hate to Admit It

But Tucci had a really good idea in SPO today for a tee-shirt.

The shirt says, "Let's Mess With Texas" and has a California with a facial features bending a Texas with facial features over and porking it from behind.

Now that's funny.
Old Mexican Ladies Like Me

For some reason I have camradarie with old mexican women. When I asked to shoot a project in a restaurant on Cesar Chavez St named Colima, offering a little money, the old mexican lady said I could do it for free. Today, I only had $2 on me and the lady at the food cart hooked me up with a bagel and coffee that usually costs $2.75. We had a confusing moment because of language differences - I thought she said "I cannot do it," which was perfectly reasonable, but then she continued to make the cup of coffee and look at me like I was ungrateful. I thanked her and she asked me whether she said it right...I explained that cannot means NO, what she meant was "I can do it," the underused cousin of Vacham's saying, "YOU CAN DO IT!"

Maybe she thought I was Mexican because I'm not shaving this week.

On the flip side, I'm half Chinese and I have absolutely no camraderie with old Chinese ladies who push me out of the way at Chinese grocery stores and seem to have utter comtempt for my half-breedness, if they even notice. The only old Chinese ladies that liked me were my immediate relatives, once they got to know me...but even my distant relatives that are Chinese have contempt for me because I can't speak Chinese or do anything Chinese. If they knew I could make jook or see my ma jong skills, they might accept me better, but to be honest, I don't give a shit about their approval....I have my Mexican roots.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I heard about this new web browser, Opera, so I started using it. I don't like it. I'm switching back to firefox, which is basically the best browser ever, I was getting worried that it was too popular and viruses were starting to attack it.

What I don't like about Opera:

1. For some reason, it only allows a few blogger functions and not all of them. I've noticed Safari does the same.

2. Instead of having a start page, it just pops up the last page you were using. I hate waking up in the morning to check my email and finding an internet porn site. It just isn't right.
Moving Is My Least Favorite Activity

Have I mentioned how I hate moving. It's one of the most unpleasant things. It is why when I came to LA, I was determined early on to find a place I liked to live and stay there for a long time. That lasted a month because my roommate couldn't sleep at our original place. He did all the legwork, however, and found us a better place. I really like my place now, although I wish my room was a little larger and we had bigger bookshelves and I had more dough to fix it up...but the space is a good size, it's comfy, quiet, yet close to some action. I'm very happy.

Which brings me to why do I work in film production? A film production is like a giant move that last two weeks. What a lousy business.
What To Write About

I used to get blogging ideas all the time during the day. Recently, my ideas only come at night. I have nothing to blog.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Kayne West Doesn't Care About Pakistani People

I hate to be that guy to bring up the hypocracy, but where's the Kayne West telethon for the Pakistani victims?

By any moral standard, it is clear this earthquake is worse (way worse) than Hurricane Katrina. 1,000 dead compared to 30,000+. But Kanye West doesn't care. Why is that? Is it because he's not Pakistani? Those are MY people out there. MY people. Yeah.

On the same note, Mrs. Coggins doesn't seem much to notice the suffering of others, unless the TV news channels are saturated with images - but she's perfectly willing to dole out accusations directed at those of us who don't believe victimization and self-pity equate to kindness or morality.

I noticed today in SPO, a Pakistani girl asked that we make up a contribution box (like we did for Hurricane Katrina) for the Pakistani victims. How could we say no? We'll see how much money comes in. I was embarassed about the other contribution box, which I said, quote, "Is more about cinema students feeling better about themselves than about helping anyone in New Orleans." I remember also saying, "I don't know what is worse - if this donation box for change is a joke or serious."

Anyhow, not even I, the svengali of SPO forsaw the Pakistani earthquake, which would embarass the hell out SPO and the I-want-to-feel-good-about-myself (instead of actually doing good) cinema students. Now I have to see hypocracy that I didn't wish upon myself staring at me in the face every day as we have a change box that no one donates money to because a) they don't know what happened in Pakistan or b) I'm just a poor cinema student. The US government should donate money, not me.

Lastly, I'd like to say that it is the fault of George Bush and the US being in Iraq that the Pakistani victims are without shelter and food and clean water right now. This is obvious. If we hadn't spend $87 billion on the war, we could have built better earthquake resisant buildings all around Pakistan to prevent all these deaths. The army core of engineers, if they paid any attention to Pakistan, could have known their buildings were earthquake safe. They are to blame.

How is this different logic that the arguments floated by folks during Katrina. Explain to me, people.
One More Woody Quote

In Manhattan, Woody's ex-wife has left him for a woman. He discusses it with Diane Keaton who says, "I read somewhere that it's all right for a kid to be raise by two women, that they turn out all right."

Woody says, "It's been my experience it's hard enough to survive one mother."

Why Don't We Study Woody Allen?

"I know I have problems in my relationships with women because none of them have lasted longer than Hitler and Eva Braun."

Wong Kar Wai borrows from Woody and Gordon in this film - using a 1/3 of the frame - see 2046. This is a spectacularly shot film, I wonder why it doesn't get mentioned more in that vein.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Good Lord

I'm watching Manhattan for some ideas for my advanced directing project because I remember liking the introduction of the film. This movie is frigging amazing, there's already been a couple of awesome scenes...Muriel Hemingway is 17 and dating Woody Allen. When the Diane Keaton character gets introduced, she's talking a mile a minute, pseudo-intellectual BS and she turns to Muriel, "And what do you do?"

"I go to High school."

Beat that.
Public Intellectuals

You can vote here for who you think of as top intellectuals. I notice no filmmakers are up there, although a playwright turned politician is...

I'd be lying if I didn't wish to someday be in this stratosphere of people - I wonder what it takes....

I can already see it: G Black, filmmaker and blogger.

Ahhhh, everyone is entitled to delusions of granduer on a Sunday afternoon, me think.

UPDATE: In case it wasn't completely clear, I know very well that I will never be included in such a group for a couple of simple reasons:

1. I'm not smart enough
2. I'm not driven enough
3. But even if I did have the brains and the drive, I know that luck and timing play a major factor in all of these things, and that my chances would be slim even if I possessed the aformentioned gifts.

Most people go through their lives doing a job, either well or poorly, loving people, raising a family, etc, etc. There is dignity in this. But there are also people, not only official "public intellectuals," (which is admittedly a little pretentious), who make a point of understanding the world that surrounds them, and knowing about a variety of subjects, not just those that are in their narrow self interest. I think society benefits from having such people around, above and beyond their jobs and "official" contribution to society.

Fareed Zakaria talks about such unofficial public servants in the Future of Freedom, professionals who played such a role in towns and cities.

I guess my point is that I aspire to be in that "stratosphere." I think it is why I'm attracted to filmmakers like Michael Mann, Alain Resnais, and Richard Linklater, who weren't necessarily "film geeks," like Scorcese or Spielberg or Godard. The former filmmakers, to me, are thinkers whose chose film as their medium of expression, people with ideas about the world who chose film, although it could just as well have been another profession, but circumstance and timing and interest all came together. The later group are film geeks, who would be working in other film related fields, ie clerk at video store to musical composer to tv writer to video artist to film critic if they weren't directing films.
Blogger Denied

Drezner is one of the blogs that got me into this whole thing. I've read his for a long time. He was just denied tenure at U Chicago.

Of course I know nothing of how he teaches or the academic tenure process, but the blog clearly did not have a positive impact on his tenure prospects.

One thing seems to be clear from all stories related to blogging and work - blogs are NOT good for your career.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

This Movie Looks Great!

Awesome preview.

It took me awhile to get to it, Mel.
I Knew It

Canada is prepping for a US invasion. Let's have a witch hunt! Arrest John Candy!
Good Night and Good Luck

I'm going to see this film mostly because I think Cloony is a talented director. I was quite impressed with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I'll probably see Good Night as a double feature with Wallace and Grommit.

But my underlying question of making the film is whether there is some type of connection between the Communist "witch hunt" of the 1950s with today. I think lefty's would like to think there is such a witch hunt, but I can't think of a single instance remotely close to the McCarthy era of accusing screenwriters, government folks, or directors of being tied to Islamic Fundamentalists. Has anyone lost their job?

Clearly, Cloony, by doing this film, must sense some connection, I just don't see it. Does anyone?
Iraq, Bush, Nate cont....

Trust in one has a interesting post about different Iraq strategies. I particularly like the 2nd one, promoting someone with more on the ground experience with irregular war to lead the charge, bypassing the old guard Pentagon folks. In fact, I'm reading this Malcom Gladwell book, Blink, which is all about trusting quick decisions as opposed to drawn out contemplative decisions. He gives this great example of a war game played in 2002 between a rouge military commander in the Middle East with support from terrorist groups and the US. The military hired an ex-Marine, known for being a strategic, aggressive, gunslinging fighter who thought very quickly on his feet. He played the rouge commander and beat the Pentagon generals in a war by fighting "wildly, but in control." He thought very quickly about what types of decisions the generals would make and subverted them. A couple of examples:

1. He knew the first thing they would do was take out his ability to code communication, so they could read every move he was going to make. As soon as they did this, he started using bike couriers and coded prayers to communicate with his commanders in the field, so the Pentagon never knew what he was up to. Sound familiar? It's exactly how OBL operates.

2. He knew the Pentagon was gearing up for a preemptive attack, mostly likely using aircraft carriers and huge battleships as the main lauching pad for strikes. He deployed little boats to spy on the locations of the huge boats and ordered a massive cruise missile strike against the boats. By doing research how many missiles the boats could withstand with counter missiles, he simply lauched more...he sunk 5 of the 6 big boats, causing 20,000 American soldier casualties in one day of the game.

So yes, I agree, we need to promote someone like this to kick the living shit out of Zarqawi and company.

Believe me, I'm all in favor of changing, adapting, trying new things in Iraq. To the extent that Bush hampers these efforts and continues to plodge forward making stuipd mistakes and wasting time, money, and lives, I think absolutely, he should be criticized and held accountable.

But I don't believe in direct democracy and simply because a lot people don't support the war some for the Nate-esque pragmatic reasons or more commonly, those who never supported the war in the first place, isn't for me reason enough to think we shouldn't be over there trying and learning and adapting.

The 1990s were the decade of making choices based upon their popularity, instead of their rightness. We didn't get rid of Saddam in Gulf War I because the Arabs and Europeans didn't want us to. We didn't get involved with Rwanda because the "American people wouldn't support it." A leader is supposed to do what they think is right - not what they think is popular. If we sufficiently disagree with him, we vote him out of office. That's how it works.

Yes, we go to war with the country we have...but I am convinced that Americans are smart enough to realize when a war is right and when it is wrong, even if it takes us awhile to sort it out.

I believe between the Iraqis and us we can figure out a way in the long term to transition to a government that is preferable to both the Iraqis and us than the Saddam option.

I think Americans would be better served by using our energies to figure this out than bitching and moaning about GW Bush.

If there's one place that survives the LA nuclear holocaust, I hope it's Lare's on Pico. Best goddam carne asada taco I've ever eaten...and I've eaten a lot of carne asada tacos.

Looking at a Mexican restaurant menu is always a little misleading. Let's be honest, all the dishes are made with similar or the same ingredients - a carne asada taco ain't fundamentally different from a carne asada burrito, just the ingridients are mixed a little different. But chances are a place that makes a good asada burrito will also make a good asada taco.

Because of what I'll call the similarity factor, I often have trouble ordering at Mexican restaurants because it's almost like - well what's the frigging difference. I usually go for tacos over burritos at sit down and go for burritos over tacos at take out - just a little policy I've developed for myself.

Then there's the choice between asada, lengua, potato, chicken, and beef tacos. When the waiter comes I ask him, "What taco or enchilada do you recommend?"

Without hesitation he responds, "Asada. You want taco and enchilada?"

I say, "I didn't see that on the menu."

He said, "We make it for you."


Great waiter. When I ask for the waiter to recommend a dish I loathe the response, "Well, do you like chicken or steak better?" or "It depends on you..."

Hey, fuckface, if I preferred one over the other, I would order it and not ask you. When I ask for a dish recommendation, I know what chicken is like and I know what steak is like....what I'm asking is whether your chicken a better chicken or is your steak a better steak. This waiter understood this implicity and had no hesitation in answering. I like this guy. I like people who know what they are talking about. And of course, when the taco comes, it's fucking unbelievable.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Prediction: L.A. Will Be Nuked One Day

Somehow a dinner discussion came to this tonight. Is it not a match made in heaven? Can you think of anything more appropriate for one another. I'm not asking folks to think of it in moral or rational terms - this is clearly a horrific idea to contemplate. But think of it from a perspective of a master terrorist, the next Mohammed Atta, someone with ideology, cleverness, capability, and an understanding of the 20th century.

We all know 9/11 was a stroke of genius for an Islamic fascist. They explained perfectly in a succinct statement exactly what they think of us. They knew hitting the Trade Centers would install fear into our hearts and anger into our heads, for a couple of reasons 1) The trade centers had been a target before and we still couldn't protect them 2) The trade centers symbolized the "might" of American power but could easily be destroyed.

Islamic Fascists watch our films. The 9/11 commission report talks about how KSM had the hijackers studying airplane hijackings from Hollywood movies. They pay attention to what they think is important to us. Right behind New York is obviously Los Angeles - especially by Hollywood standards.

I've talked about it with a few people and there seems to be a consensus - what would you bomb in L.A.? Seriously....sure, you could hit Disneyland or Hollywood Blvd, or the 405 Freeway, or the LA Airport. But would that cause mass chaos and destruction? Clearly not. A master terrorist would never go backwards. After 9/11, a master terrorist would have to do something more spectacular, and nothing could be more spectacular than a nuke. And there would be no better target for a nuke than Los Angeles, to poke a gigantic hole in "facade" of America.

Los Angeles is unlike any city in America - any in the world for that matter. It was developed around freeways. It is one of the only post-modern cities, fragmented, broken up into sections, and as my friend from college describes it: a series of towns nudged right against one another. There is no "central" Los Angeles. Downtown is a shithole, there is Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, East LA, Downtown, all the beach towns, these are all "parts" of L.A. It is decentralized, spread out. It was created during the same era at the atomic bomb. They both epitomize post-war America and the post modern era.

The only thing that can destroy LA is the nuclear bomb.

Al Queda may be evil, but they are not irrational. They know what they are doing. They believe virtue to be more important than freedom and believe freedom leads to hedonism and evil. What city epotimizes what Al Queda hates about America more than L.A.?

What Al Queda has either consciously realized or lucked into by accident, is an odd allience with self-hating Americans - those who believe America is wrong and decadent and evil. The odd thing is they are partially right, we are decadent, materialistic, hedonistic, selfish, but they think the solution is orgiastic violence as opposed to intelligent criticism. But the extreme self hatred, America-hatred, LA-hatred, can easily manifest itself in violence - see Falling Down, an example of the "fet-up" white American male or the Columbine murders, all examples of unleashed violence as expression versus a reaction or self-protection.

What better target of this than LA, a city where a high percentage of people hate the city? What better weapon than an a-bomb?

I say these things not because I want it to happen or necessarily think that it will happen, but that it is logical course for a master terrorist to take, given the world we live in. That is what scares me and why I am considering moving.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


It looks like GW has been taking lessons from Tony Blair. I haven't heard the speech, but the text of it is amazing. I challenge anyone to retort to the speech or any element of it.

Money quotes:

"Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence -- the Israeli presence on the West Bank, or the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, or the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We're facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of the killers -- and no concession, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder." Note - Chris Hitchens writes about why trying to figure out policy reasons for Islamic terror is fruitless.

"There's always a temptation, in the middle of a long struggle, to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world, and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder. This would be a pleasant world, but it's not the world we live in. The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday's brutality. This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence. In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory."

UPDATE: If I understand Nate's response, the question he wants answered is: Why Iraq? Why then and why now? What are the concrete goals, how do we measure progress, etc.? I agree we should have those things laid out, which I think we do to a certain extent - elections, ratification of an Iraqi constitution, etc.

But I think it is misleading to suggest that we should know when Islamic terrorism will stop - in Iraq and at home. We cannot know the answers to these questions - but I do know that if we back away and take the easier road of isolation, allowing Iraq to be a terror state under Saddam or under Zarqawi, that we ensure the struggle will be that much longer.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Negs and Targets

A pick up artist writes a book on how to meet chicks. Great.

Why do these type of guys annoy me so much? Is it because I'm jealous? That's certainly the easy answer. But there's something about trying so hard that rubs me wrong - it might be my norcal take-it-easy attitude shining through.

A similar thing bugs me about Script Analysis, breaking down a screenplay or story into these little rules and strategies and Robert McKee and all of it makes me want to puke up Starburst.

I know that treating dating like a part time job will lead to more dates, and will lead to getting laid more. If one says to oneself, "I am getting a date for Friday" and they stick to the plan, they will be successful.

The same thing goes for getting in shape - it takes discipline and commitment, like a job. When I played soccer in SF, I had two games a weekend and one practice a week, it was like having a part time job. People depended on you showing up and being responsible. It was tough, but had some big rewards as well.

There's only so much time one can devote to these things...if you work really hard at school or your job and you want to work out and you want to have a social life AND you want to date chicks and you want to read books, see the newest movies, learn Arabic, and play tennis, fish, travel, and on and on, how many of these things are you supposed to treat "professionally?"

I suppose there is something to be taken away from these type of things, but the minute I catch myself reading a book about how to pick up women, it'll either induce involutary vomiting or require stabbing myself in the stomach.
Oklahoma Suicide Bomber

Well, they didn't include this info in the original press release: the guy was a convert to Islam, his Pakistani roommate was arrested, he tried to buy bigger, more explosive ingridientss from a feed store the week before the explosion, he attended the same mosque as Zacharias Moussaoui, the explosive he used is the same that the shoe bomber Richard Reid used, guys in Oklahoma arrested were MSA members at the school.

Scary stuff.

And USC didn't want to do my documentary on Muslims living in America, focusing on folks in USCs MSA. Nothing interesting going on there....

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

On Miers

Federalist 78, by one of my favorite founding fathers, Alex Hamilton:

"To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. In addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration."

May I repeat my suggestion for the nominee.
Can't Buy Me Love

I remember liking this movie when I was a little kid. I don't remember why, maybe because there was sex and hot chicks, I don't really know. Caught part of it on TV tonight, and it doesn't hold up, really at all. At the time, I thought the lead girl was hot - and now, well, not much to say. She's kind of frumpy. I can see why she never did much afterwards.

During commericials I was switching between the Office and Brown Sugar on the Oxygen network. I've noticed something in the "Lifelong friends turn into lovers genre," like Brown Sugar or My Best Friend's Wedding, etc, the lead girl is alway SUPER cute. Sure, they try to make the "other" girl sexy and you can see maybe why the guy went for the sexy girl, but the lead girl is always quite attractive. I think this somewhat messes with the viewership of the Oxygen channel, because it plays into this fantasy about how guys will come around to their soul mates, blah, blah, but in my experience, guys know pretty early on, if not right away, whether they'd be down with a chick. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, this idea of growing into attraction, but let's be honest, if these guys best friend's were Julia Roberts or the chick from Brown Sugar, their bones would've been jumped way earlier.

Now that's what I call a Mexican Soap Opera Star. If Miers gets rejected, I beg Mr. Bush to nominate el Bruno to the highest court of the land.  Posted by Picasa

...that my life isn't as exciting as it should be: my car is in the shop, I have a mini van for a day and I can't think of a way to take advantage. Alas, I am no Chili Palmer.
Goddammit, Man

We all be getting fat. Shit, we almost have a better shot at becoming filmmakers than staying skinny. Good lawrd, what is happening?

9 of 10 men get fat, and 7 out of 10 women. I'll pose a question to the fellas - would you prefer that you, yourself got fat, or the wifey went large in her old age?


Leykis, as much as I don't want to like him, correlates females putting on weight to erectile dysfunction, viagra, etc. "You want a cured for ED," he bellows, "Try an 18 year old." So sad, yet so true.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Not suitable for a Mexican soap opera Posted by Picasa

I hate to be the asshole, but let's be honest, all this anger about Miers mostly has to do with the fact that she's butt-ugly and no one likes butt-ugly people. Finally, something liberals and conservatives can agree upon. Let's hire a Mexican soap opera star for the Supreme Court!
I Not a Mexican

I don't understand how it takes 20 minutes to spread carne asada on 3 flour tortillas and throw some salsa and onions on....BUT, it did give a chance to check out some Mexican soap operas. I noticed a couple things, they tend to place a greater value on looks as opposed to say, acting skills. Maybe that is a feature of the soap opera as genre, as opposed to Mexican soap operas specifically - but i'm not sure - they still have those variety shows with all sorts of hot chicks.

The scenes tend to feature a lot of sitting around and a lot of injuries. I couldn't hear the dialog, so I just studied the images. There were several scenes in hospitals, where one hot chick is lying in bed with a neck brace and wounds, obviously incapacitated for one reason or another. She must have been the lead character, because they kept going back to the hospital bed and different characters would visit her. At one point, the camera zoomed into her reaction, while jump cutting WITHIN the zoom, and then, get this, they repeated it over and over three times. A mean looking women revealed something to her prior to this emotionally significant moment, I'm guessing from the mouthed "Mama" that she was her REAL mother, or something.

In another scene, a different hot chick was in a wheelchair with a guy was standing behind her talking to her. Had someone brought this into directing class, Jeremy Kagan would have said, "let's give them something to do." Perhaps something to do with the content of their discussion or something that reflected their relationship. But these soap opera directors have real balls - they say, NO cheap tricks, I'm going to let the dialog tell the story - NO ACTION. NO SPECIAL EFFECTS. Pure drama.

Anyhow, my food was finally ready, so I didn't get to see what happened, I wonder if there are always so many injuries on Mexican soap operas.

This is nostalgia, as far as I know, not an arrestable offense Posted by Picasa

Lest we ever forget Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Who ate Blossom? Posted by Picasa
A Prominent Liberal

Andrew Sullivan is peeved by being called a prominent liberal for being in favor of small government, states rights, a balanced budget, supporting the Iraq and Afghan wars, and against the Roe v. Wade decision. That's the current state of conservatives, he says, mockingly.

I know where he is coming from. I support the Iraq war and am considered a Conservative Republican by my California friends, despite being in favor of Roe, believing that the role of government is to extend liberty and opportunity to as many people as possible, and being against the death penalty, as practiced in the United States.

What can I say, people are strange...
Suicide Bomb at College Football Game

Now that's a scary headline, isn't it. Well, it looks like only the bomber himself was killed. I imagine the motive was to get inside the stadium, but he somehow fucked up.

This does not sound like Al Queda. I can't imagine Al Queda attacking an OU football game - too random and difficult. If they were able to pull something like that off, it would be pretty scary, their knowledge of the US and college football. Looks like the something similar to the anthrax scare.
Great Post at Trust in One

Great title - the Demise of Men. Nate makes a great post, which makes the critique of Sideways almost tolerable.

That being said, I have a few scattered retorts. The hypothesis that dating people and falling in and out of love, and learning to "get over it" is in fact, divorce training, is a bit of a stretch. From what I've heard, it's the younger couples that don't last. But honestly, I don't think it's about the age, more about the people involved. That's fairly obvious.

Another point of contention is that since it's easier for men to get sex, we don't try to accomplish a lot with our lives, etc, is funny, but not necessary correct. Women used to make men jump through hoops to get laid, ie be successful, earn money, be self sufficient. By withholding sex, men behaved better, tried harder, found passions, etc, whereas today, not such hoops need to be jumped through, sex is too easy, and it makes guys loafs.

Interesting thoughts, I don't tend to agree with them all that much, because A) I don't think it's that easy to get laid and B) I don't think falling in and out of love is a such bad thing.

And onto film...

The Green article points out what film fans have noticed - actors such as Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, etc all looked more adult that the actors of today. We are a generation trying that look and dress like children. This, too, is obvious, but I'm not sure how horrible it is. 40 is the new 30, man.

And now to the real gist - the Sideways comeback. The Hayden Church character is clearly the type of male critiqued in the post. But I think the movie, as much as anything, undermines the Church character and makes the same point that Nate and Green make - that he needs to grow up. "You don't understand my plight," is funny because it's ridiculous and the character is so full of shit. Miles, at one point, yells at him, "You are an infant!"

Further, the Miles character, far from being the deadbeat child uncommitted to anything, is the opposite - he's a struggling and impassioned writer, one whose written 1000 + pages in his third novel. He's just not successful.

Green makes an interesting point, this whole idea of our generation being able to "do whatever we put our mind to," might very well be nonsense. Most of us are average and won't ever be able to accomplish our dreams. I am at film school and know 90% of the people in my class will not accomplish what they hope to accomplish. Perhaps Miles should take this advise and give up writing, because he just isn't talented enough. But what is Green's proposal? Should Miles become an insurance salesman? Or should he be satisfied being a teacher? Should he have treated his first wife better and kept that marriage going? Or is being a teacher and a failed writer, pursuing a life with Maya all right? Is it better that humbly accepting ones role with gratitude and thankfulness, similar to what our grandparents, who lived through the depression did?

Sideways is great movie for identifying this crisis in American masculinity and generating such a discussion. The critique of Sideways boils down to a critique of American men. The accuracy and truthfulness of the film are the reasons for which it is being attacked. Instead of disguising this as a critique of the film, we are actually using the accuracy of the film as a jumping off point for a discussion and critque of masculinity - which is a worthy and valient objective, it just shouldn't be confused with the quality of movie.

The comparison to Hollywood Classical cinema is nostalgia for a different time, a different type of American male. I often long for the past as well, I love Cary Grant, don't get me wrong. But idealizing America of 1950s is almost as absurd as suggesting that today's crisis in masculinity is any different than the perpetual "crisis" affecing American society. What I mean to say is that there always seems to be a "crisis" in something, if you read enough of the social critics - a crisis in filmmaking, a crisis in the news, a crisis in education, and so forth. The 1950s were a great time in America - we lived in a segregated society, had communist witchhunts, we moved to the suburbs, and created sophisicated advertising campaigns. Great time. Sort of reminds me of 1990s when we ignored genocides, pretended Islamic Fascism didn't matter, and felt like we were going to be rich forever.

A final note about Swingers and Sideways, both movies close to my heart...the themes of these films were not invented in the past 10-20 years. See Pillow Talk, the Rock Hudson-Doris Day film, and you'll see grown men acting like juveniles...see His Girl Friday, Cary Grant acts like a grown up's the women, not the men, that are so different, methinks - more confident, of all things. In the end of Swingers and Sideways, it's about Miles and Mikey, two characters who learn to "move on" and find happiness in pursuing healthly, new relationships. I don't see this as the worst model for how to live our lives.
Ideal Sunday

-Wake up between 9-10.
-Play Tennis. Doubles or singles.
-Eat Brunch, nice little place somewhere in Silverlake. Read paper.
-Watch football - 1 game max. Maybe take a little nap during game.
-Blog or write for an hour or so.
-Watch a movie at the Egyptian or the New Beverly
-Get drink or food after the movie and discuss.
-Read myself to sleep.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

It's Called Editing

I suppose this is rather disturbing.

Adult communists rallying African American teenagers to dress and act like Hamas. Yeah, I'd say that is disturbing. It echos what Chris Hitchens said about Milosevic, Saddam, Bin Laden, and Ayatollah Khomeni.

"It was to be noticed in all cases that the aggressors, whether they were killing Muslims, or exalting Islam, or just killing their neighbors, shared a deep and abiding hatred of the United States."