Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Women's Impact Report

Today's issue of Variety was a tribute to Hollywood Women. The Women's Impact Report featured profiles on female power brokers in various arenas--acting (Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren), producing (Salma Hayek, Laura Ziskin) and execs (Stacey Snider, Paula Wagner)--to name a few. But while touting gains women have made in becoming "players" in Hollywood, the article also highlights areas where much work still needs to be done. Pointing to the campaign by the Guerrilla Girls last Spring featuring billboards urging Hollywood to "Unchain the Female Director!" While Marty Scorsese had to wait over 30 years to claim his Oscar, women directors are STILL waiting for a representative of their gender to be awarded that honor.

Before women can have their voices heard and stories told, they need to be seen as having validity and equal to their male counterparts. In some instances, this might mean just being plain SEEN. Geena Davis (whose notable feminist roles include an outlaw in Thelma and Louise, a baseball player in A League of Their Own and the President in Commander-in-Chief) has formed See Jane to promote gender equity in media. Davis notes that the ratio of male to female in G-rated media is 4-1. And in a similar vein, a Celebritology article by guest blogger Jen Chaney asks "Are the Pixar Movies an Animated Boys Town?"

It stands to reason that without viable or visible role models, young girls won't be speaking up or speaking out or otherwise telling their stories. At 4-1, their odds aren't good--and the role models they DO have are generally...princesses. I remember seeing Disney's Mulan with a young friend of mine. The story is about a young girl who pretends to be a boy to serve in the Chinese Army in place of her aging father. And by her wit, perseverance and courage, she ends up saving China from the Huns and the Emperor from assassination. How's THAT for a kick-ass female role model?

At the end of the film, Mulan returns to her village and offers her father the gifts of honor bestowed upon her by the Emperor. He embraces her saying, "The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter!" Then the Chinese captain shows up and FADE OUT. As the lights came up in the theater, I sat wiping my eyes. My young companion was vaguely dissatisfied. Turning to me she said, "I bet in the sequel she marries the Captain!"

Beyond the amazement that an eight year-old understands the marketing concept of a "franchise," it was astonishing to me that for her the story was not complete until the independent, strong-willed, strong-minded heroine was paired up with the handsome hero. And why not? Hasn't Disney told her that's the reward for girls? The Beauty gets her Beast, Jane gets Tarzan and Ariel gets her Prince.

Things are improving--as evidenced by the women of Wisteria Lane (proving that the MILF factor is a force to be reckoned with), the estrogen-laden Grey's Anatomy and Salma Hayek's baby, Ugly Betty. Next year brings us The Bionic Women, The Sarah Connor Chronicles and several Sex and the City knock-offs. Maybe Pixar will release a feature starring a FEMALE rat next year...

We've certainly made progress in the 35 years since the formation of Women in Film--an organization dedicated to empowering women in the industry and increasing the ranks of female executives and power players. So we have come a long way, baby--but we've still got quite a ways to go...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Writing Blog Roll - part one

If you love writing--especially screenwriting--you might want to mosey on over to some pro writer blogs and check out these insightful articles:

John August addresses the issue of parallel development and the TV spec script in a post titled She was Mistaken. He then follows up his train of the thought with philosophical musings on Silent Evidence.

For those of you not so much into philosophy, Julie posts a scathingly funny scenario of obscenity and the MPAA in Little Miss #!#&*!#shine at Things They Won't Tell You in Film School .

For more hilarity on the subject of obscenity, check out Ken Levine's post Protecting Our Kuntry from Obscenity.

Over at the Artful Writer, Craig Mazin deals with the nuts and bolts of the upcoming WGA contract negotiations in his usual concise and coherent manner in his post
The WGA vs. the Studios. For those of you wondering how and how much writers get paid, he's got a great post on The Economics of Screenwriting as well.

And if all the wads of money that a pro writer can earn isn't enough to motivate you to get back to work, check out Bill Martell's post titled Write Now!

Happy reading AND writing!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Down at the Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is one of my all-time favorite places. I used to walk there in the morning once a week when I lived in Santa Monica. Wednesday mornings were calm and peaceful on the pier--a great way to meditate and reconnect. If you're lucky, you can sometimes spot a school of dolphins frolicking in the surf.

Now that I'm not living as close, I still try to make the pilgrimage weekly--but it can be sporadic. Sundays are best. Street parking is free and if you get down there around 10 am, it's fairly easy to nab a spot. You still get a bit of crowding and a lot of tourists, but if you go early enough it's not bad. On the way to the end of the pier, you pass all sorts of beachy kitsch. The arcade. The guy selling stuff made from sea shells. Caricaturists. Your name on a grain of rice. (Why? What is the purpose of that? At least the clocks made from miniature surfboards are somewhat useful...)

Then there's the little amusement park--Pacific Park--on the pier. It boasts a giant ferris wheel and a little rollercoaster and other assorted "thrills." All of which appeared to have been renamed to cash in on the current "Pirates" craze--"Kid's Cove,""Buccaneer Boats," "Pier Plank Plunge"--you get the idea...

Along the way, various performers create a peculiar cacophony. It should be noted that said performers are notably less talented than those setting up shop on Third Street Promenade. There's the guy playing the steel drums--he's not so bad. The pan pipes dude is only nominally annoying. The worst is the guy who dangles a marionette to pop songs playing on his boombox. The puppet is usually "dancing" on its knees. It's really sad and pathetic. There are various guitarists--including one who performs a 60s/70s repertoire of folk songs sounding a lot like Bob Dylan. I call him "Guitar Guy." He and the guy I've named the "Piano Man" often vie for the coveted end of pier location.

Piano Man is an attractive, affable black guy with a pleasant voice and adept keyboard style--and horrendously banal and inane lyrics. His songs are relentlessly simple and upbeat--thanking God for the day and singing of love, angels and sunshine. I haven't heard any songs about puppies or unicorns but that's about the depth of his "poetry." He's a big hit with the Asian tourists--they buy his CDs, pose with him for pictures, get his autograph. Me, I last about two to three songs before the cringe-worthy sentiments send me into a sugar induced coma. I'm kidding. But I do generally leave after I've heard enough of his music for it to be irritatingly stuck in my head for the rest of the day...

Today no Piano Man or Guitar Guy at the end of the pier. Just the usual fisherman and tourists. The fisherman rarely catch anything bigger than 5-6 inches. Bait, really--to catch more 5-6 inch long fish. There were a couple of kayakers in the water, a handful of boats, planes dragging banners overhead, kids tormenting the pigeons by chasing them. I met up with my friend John and we hung out and got caught up talking about random stuff. It was warm and sunny and peaceful with a gentle breeze. Then a karaoke type performer trundled by and started to set up. That was our cue to leave.

All in all, a perfect way to spend a Sunday morning...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

You can get almost anything on Craigslist

I love Craigslist. I've found jobs through their listings, joined a book club after reading an activity partners posting, sold my IKEA (Swedish for "Some assembly required" followed by maniacal laughter...) wardrobe and a set of wine glasses from Tiffany (birthday present from a former "friend"). I get vicarious thrills from reading the "Missed Connections" (nope--never any for me!), sticker shock from trolling the apartment listings, laugh my ass off at the "Best of Craigslist" postings. My favorite "Best of" posting:

"I have 2 dogs & I was buying a large bag of Pal at Big W and standing in line at the check out.

A woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

On impulse, I told her that no, I was starting The Pal Diet again although I probably shouldn't because I'd ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IV's in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Pal nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry & that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.

I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story, particularly a guy who was behind her.

Horrified, she asked if I'd ended up in the hospital in that condition because I had been poisoned. I told her no; it was because I'd been sitting in the street licking my balls and a car hit me.

I thought one guy was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard as he staggered out the door.

Stupid b*tch...why else would I buy dog food??"
Anyway--you can find almost anything on Craigslist. Except perhaps AN AGENT. Now seriously folks, why would anyone think that a reputable agent or manager who has a trillion scripts to wade through, a sack full of query letters to shred without reading--why would anyone think that an agent trolls through Craigslist for potential clients?

Admittedly, much of my knowledge of agents and their behavior is limited to Jeremy Piven's hysterical performance as Ari Gold on HBO's Entourage. Not once have I seen Ari Gold say to Lloyd, "Check out Craigslist--see if there are any successful producer, writer, director types seeking an agent."

And yet that's the title of a posting in the JOBS classifieds. In the section of Craigslist for people SEEKING EMPLOYMENT, some idiot posts: "Successful producer, writer, director seeking agent." What the fuck? Seriously, if the guy is so successful why the fuck is he posting on Craigslist looking for an agent? The ad goes on to say:
Successful motion picture producer,writer,director seeking agent or manager for representation. Have produced over 20 films which two have grossed over $75,000,000 each. If interested in resume contact me at dumbfuck@hotmail.com
OK, I changed the e-mail address to protect the moronic. Don't go spamming dumbfuck@hotmail.com with hate mail now...

You do not find agents off Craigslist. I wish it were that easy, but it doesn't work that way. How do you get an agent? You get someone who knows an agent to refer you to said agent. How do I know this? 'Cuz an agent told me. There may be other ways, but Craigslist ain't one of them.

So, anyone know an agent that they could refer me to?

The Two Coreys

Tom Shales of The Washington Post recently excoriated The Two Coreys--the new "reality" show on A&E starring former teen stars (attention Lindsay Lohan: this is your future!), Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. You might remember them from The Lost Boys--a wickedly funny and scary teen vampire flick starring Kiefer Sutherland (in his pre-Jack Bauer days, but still a total badass), Jason Patric (most notable accomplishment--breaking up Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland's wedding) and Jamie Gertz (or more accurately, Jamie Gertz's hair).

Now I'm a big fan of Tom Shales (although based on the updated photo next to his column, Tom has taken the term "couch potato" to new heights. Or maybe new "depths." Seriously Tom, lay off the Hagen-Daaz and Pringles. It's scaring me!), but he's totally missed the point in his review:

"There's no way of knowing if any of this is genuine, of course. Much of the attempted dramatic conflict seems faked, as when Feldman's wife and Haim exchange nasty cracks, with Haim at one point derisively referring to Susie as "Yoko." Ooh, that (still) hurts. Later, Haim growls at her, "You're not part of 'The Coreys,' and you never will be." Tut-tut! Not very good manners for a house guest."

Um, newsflash for you Tom--it's all fake. Not surprising to most fans of reality TV, I'm sure. But very little is "real." In the beginning--or near the beginning, there was a PBS series called An American Family. Shot documentary style in 1971, the twelve episodes edited from 300 hours of footage chronicled the life of the Loud family from Santa Barbara, CA.

Flash forward to about 20 years later, and MTv debuts The Real World--a set-up reality show that brought together seven diverse and photogenic young people and threw them into a group living situation with cameras rolling. Obviously the deck was stacked to ensure the maximum amount of drama--and then edited to maximize that even more. Survivor, The Bachelor and a mind-numbing amount of others followed in the wake of the success of The Real World. But if it makes you feel any better--blame PBS. Damn you public television--look what you wrought!

Taking the stacking of the deck one step further from:
1. a handpicked cast of characters,
2. instigated drama and
3. extensive editing,
we come to the scripted improvisation of the new "reality" show. "Fauxality" as termed by TMZ.com. Fake reality. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's an oxymoron! It's not even a new trend--MTv again started this bandwagon off with the "reality" (emphasis on the quotation marks!) show The Hills--which is most definitely scripted. It's doubtful any of the "cast" members are talented enough to do improv.

So take note Mr. Shales and get with the program! (Pun intended.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

My Date with the Doctor

Yeah--unfortunately not THAT kind of date. I haven't had that kind of date in ages. Although one of the guys who hangs out at the Budget Rent-a-Truck to pick up day work (I walk past there on the way to the gym) told me I have a "mean stroll" (I think that's like Tyra's "fierce") and asked if he could take me out sometime. I lied and said I had a boyfriend. I'm not being mean--it's not like I don't appreciate the compliment. But I think having standards about not dating random itinerant guys is wise.

Anyway, back to the doctor's appointment. I really like my endocrinologist. She's from India and she speaks with that musical accent. She's pretty old school when it comes to treatment but she's not arrogant. She appreciates that I'm a smart and well-informed patient.

But she moved her office from Inglewood (about 20 minutes drive) to Torrance (over 45 minutes) and it's sheer hell to go there. And her front desk person has no business dealing with the public. Last time I went in April, she said she couldn't take my co-pay via credit card. But I've always paid my co-pay via credit card. It's because the machines weren't working yet. Um, hello? You moved to this office in FEBRUARY and the credit card machines aren't up now in APRIL? Then my doctor told me later that it was that the front desk person hadn't learned how to use them yet.

So I'm thinking after another three months, they must be fully functioning--right? Wrong. Front desk person said she couldn't take a credit card and she wouldn't even check if I had an outstanding balance on my account. "You can call the billing office later," she says to me. "How 'bout YOU call the billing office right now for me?" I counter.

Now what is up with no credit card machines? I pretty much charge EVERYTHING. It's way easier than writing a check or even carrying cash. Mark my words, in a decade or so cash transactions will be almost as obsolete as what e-mail has done to snail mail. Your job will direct deposit "money" into your bank account, you'll pay all your bills electronically. So basically we'll never have to deal with rolling pennies, pitching dimes or dog-eared dollar bills again. And speaking of dog-eared dollar bills, I saw this story on the news the other day about a dog who scarfed down hundreds of dollars out of his owner's mother's purse. They had to--uh, wait for it to "pass", clean it up and tape it together to get a replacement from the bank. They're still missing a couple hundred dollars. See? Once we stop dealing with physical money, Fido's cash cravings will no longer be a problem!

Where was I? Oh, talking about my doctor's appointment. So after I had my little hissy fit with the pain-in-the-ass at the front desk, they put me in an examining room. Test my blood sugar--it's 107. Yay! Last time it was over 200 for some reason. Blood pressure isn't too great--130/90. But I blame the PITA at the front desk for getting me ired. And the 45+ minute commute down the 405. Ugh. hbA1c was 5.9%, down from 6.4% last time. Double yay! The only sour note was my weight. It's still 10-15 lbs. more than I'm happy with. Boo!

Still have to get my microalbumin tested--and my cholesterol. And an update on my thyroid levels. But all in all a pretty good appointment.

Then I spent over an hour sitting in traffic on the 405 to get home. Ugh!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Summer Reading List

Since the demise of my book club (a moment of silence, please...), my reading habits have been haphazard at best. Nothing like a monthly meeting to inspire you to buckle down and read a couple chapters. Lately it's been Rolling Stone magazine and--well, that's about it. But I have made my way through some interesting non-fiction works (definitely not light-weight beach blanket fare!):

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman which explores changes and inconsistencies in the New Testament. Ehrman, who studied Greek, Hebrew and Latin in order to be able to translate original biblical texts as Evangelical Seminary student, eventually became an agnostic as the result of his research. Some of the changes can be attributed to scribal errors (the predecessor of the "typo") while some were blatantly political--or at the very least ideological.

I became intrigued with the subject matter after reading an article about Ehrman in The Washington Post. I was fascinated with how this biblical scholar's studies so profoundly affected him as to completely renovate his world view. And I thought the book might be helpful research for a screenwriting project I have in mind. Somewhat ironically, there are at least two rebuttal books on Amazon dealing with Ehrman's "misquoutes" or "fallacies" in Misquoting Jesus.

(But the "scribal error" thing brings to mind a joke about a monk who goes back to the original texts to translate and transcribe them. The Abbott comes upon him in the Library and the monk is crying. "What is the problem, my son?" he asks the monk.

"The word is celeBRATE." the monk replies.

That joke kills me every time...)

The book I just finished is Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor by Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh. Detailing the "shady" dealings of a poor Southside Chicago neighborhood--from illegal activities such as drug dealing and prostitution to illicit activities such as barter agreements, under-the-table wage earners and unreported rental income. The web that ties both together weaves a network through the community--blurring the distinctions between illegal and illicit.

This is another book I read for research for a possible feature script project.

Upcoming is another Ehrman book--Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millenium as well as another book by Venkatesh, American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto. Again, reading for further research for two possible writing projects.

When I'm finished I plan to read Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle (for FUN!) starting with re-reading Quicksilver (volume one) and The Confusion (volume two--which I read, but did a lot of skimming) and The System of the World (volume three--which I could not get through at all due to sheer exhaustion from volumes one and two!). These books are 800-900 pages EACH, so it's quite an undertaking to finish the whole series!

What are you reading and recommending?

Word of the Day - Typeractive

From the Urban Dictionary - a dictionary of slang terms, typeractive is defined as: "someone who is overly talkative on e-mails or text messages."

What is up with text messaging anyway? How did this become a form of communication? You see all these kids sitting next to each other TEXTING each other instead of talking. WTF?!!!

Brittany: WU? (What's up?)

Tiffany: NMH. U? (Not much here. What's up with you?)

Brittany: Wait 4 B/F. (Waiting for my boyfriend.)

Tiffany: WOMBAT (Waste of money, brains and time...)

Brittany: LOL! YCMU. (Laugh out loud! You crack me up!)

Tiffany: GG. TTYL. (Gotta go. Talk to you later.)

Brittany: OK. (Okay.)

After years of video gaming and mouse clicking, humans will eventually evolve into creatures with giant heads, bulging eyes, an atrophied body except for two giant THUMBS! I don't get how they can even do the texting thing so quickly. I get hung up trying to type in the corresponding name with the number when I add a contact to my cellphone.

But then again, no-one's ever accused me of being "typeractive"....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Passion

It's a scarce commodity in bottom-line oriented, jaded L.A. But I think it's more important than talent or connections or luck. You've gotta want it. Really, really want it. Passion. Persistence. Perseverance. All those good "P" words.

My friend Chris Cory has it in spades. Especially when it comes to the subject of another "P" word--pit bulls. Chris is super passionate about animal rights--he made a movie called Diva Dog about his pit bull, Coral, who was paralyzed after a car hit her. Chris works tirelessly to get the word out about Coral and her story to present a more positive image of the pit bull breed and educate people about options for disabled animals.

So to Chris and everyone out there who is passionate about SOMETHING and is doing SOMETHING about it, you ROCK!

Another NINE HUNDRED HOURS?!!!!

My friend Jack said he was interested in going to the screening of David Lynch's NINE HUNDRED HOUR long opus Inland Empire (OK, it's only THREE...) followed by Q&A at the Hammer Museum. I told him he was NUTS! Now he says he isn't sure he could sit through the movie again (saner minds prevail!) and maybe we could just show up for the Q&A afterwards.

So, if I get to ask Mr. Lynch "What the fuck was up with the bunnies?," I'll let you know.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mika Brzezinski

After my post on "What passes for news in L.A.," I got a thoughtful comment from Elisabeth (check out her blog Elisabeth Writes) ,to wit: "Where's Mika Brzezinski when we need her?"

I must confess I did not understand the reference. Because I don't get cable and so I missed Mika, daughter of Zbigniew, in action during an MSNBC broadcast on June 27th when she (according to Wikipedia):

"refused to read a report about Paris Hilton's release from jail. One hour later during another news break segment, her producer Andy Jones again pushed the story as the lead, ranking it over Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana's break with President Bush on the Iraq war, which Brzezinski considered more important. After several unsupportive remarks from host Joe Scarborough, she attempted to burn the story's script on the air, but was physically prevented from lighting it by co-host Willie Geist. She then tore up the script, and one hour later, got up and ran another copy of the script through a paper shredder retrieved from Dan Abrams's office.

The incident was quickly popularized on the Internet, and in the days that followed Brzezinski received large quantities of fan mail supporting her on-air protest as a commentary on the tension between 'hard news' and 'entertainment news.'"
God, I wish I could have seen that! Oh wait--thanks to the Internet and YouTube (and Elisabeth!), I can!!!

Two posts about two different "Mikas" in as many days. Hmmmm....

God bless you Mika Brzezinski! I bet you wouldn't waste our time with alleged "breaking news" on some freaking car chase either!

What passes for "News" in L.A.

Lilo (that's Lindsay Lohan to those of you who have lives...) is the top story in L.A. news today. Not just on gossip sites like Defamer or TMZ.com. But over and over again on local network news. Not just a brief mention once, but every fifteen minutes. A story about the "Rise and Fall of Lindsay Lohan" (did I miss the rise? Seriously--when was that?), a story about whether or not Rehab works (in Lilo's case--apparently not!), a statement from her lawyer, an update on her status (back in rehab--maybe the third time's the charm!).

All this for a 21 year-old actress whose biggest claim to fame is the staggering number of times she's graced the cover of tabloids. The panty-less crotch shots, the lesbian torture porn photos, the camera phone video of her snorting cocaine, the hissy-fit "Behave yourself young lady" letter from a studio head, her tumultous "relationships". When does she even have time to "act"?

It's not unbelievable that our local news stations would waste airtime on an airhead (or perhaps "cokehead" is a more accurate term) like Lohan. After all, they specialize in broadcasting non-news. Like the one day it rains in SoCal and it's "StormWatch 2007." You've got reporters staked out in Malibu praying for a mudslide so that the crew can get video of some multi-million dollar mansion sliding down a hill. Most of the time it just drizzles. So much for "StormWatch 2007."

But my all-time favorite is the in-depth coverage and reporting of the car chases. Not that there's anything else going on in the world. We have to watch some bozo weaving through the streets of Encino or racing up the 5 freeway for freaking HOURS! As long as it takes. Wouldn't want to miss the part where the loser finally blows out all four tires, comes to a screeching halt and is pulled out of his vehicle by the CHP who beats the @#$% out of him. After being forced to watch this for hours, I'm ready to beat the @#$% out of him!

And all the anchorbots run the same patterns. Call up some muckety-muck from the CHP who knows NOTHING. "I can't answer that. That's unknown at this point in time. I can't speculate as to what motivated the bozo to drive the wrong way on the 5 freeway." The anchorbots ask questions about procedure. "Will you be attempting a PIT MANEUVER or do you plan to lay down a SPIKE STRIP?" I swear the anchorbots live for saying "PIT MANEUVER."

Anchorbot: What do we have up for the broadcast?

Producer: We have some bozo in Encino who ran a stop sign and won't pull over for the cops.

Anchorbot: Oh goody! I get to say "PIT MANEUVER."

Eventually it ends. And always the same way. They might as well just pull out the video of car chase #78, plug it in and take a long bathroom break. It's like the television version of playing "Freebird." We'd never know the difference. Car speeding along. Cops behind. Helicopter above. Lather, rinse, repeat. Is this news?

Given that I've never seen a car chase where the bozo GOT AWAY, I wonder why the fuck they don't just PULL OVER! Haven't they ever watched a car chase on the news? If they've seen one, they've seen a dozen and they all END the SAME WAY! Do they think they're going to get away? Personally I think the bozos think--"Oh goody! Car chase. I get to be on the NEWS! And some anchorbot will say "PIT MANUEVER!"

I wonder if the media coverage in fact incites car chases. Without TV tracking every single move, would it be worth it to the bozo being chased? If a car chase happens in L.A. and the media doesn't televise it, would it make a difference? Perhaps it would be as noiseless as the tree in the forest. Perhaps the bozo being chased would just pull over with a wordless whimper instead of going out with a highly publicized bang. Perhaps the media attention created the non-stop Lindsay Lohan fuck-ups rather than just reporting on it.

After all, if Lilo fucked up and it DIDN'T make headlines, what would be the point?

Would it make a sound? Would anyone care?

Filter Magazine presents Big Time with David Lynch

Less than a week after sitting through NINE HUNDRED HOURS of David Lynch's Inland Empire, I get an invite in my e-mail from Filter Magazine to attend a screening of David Lynch's Inland Empire at the Hammer Museum in Westwood featuring a performance of "Polish Night Music" by David Lynch BEFORE the NINE HUNDRED HOUR long movie and a Q&A with David Lynch afterwards.

Will I be sitting through another NINE HUNDRED HOURS (OK, it's only THREE!) of Inland Empire? Hell, no. But if any of the four readers of this blog are interested, here are the details:

Date: 8/1/07
Place: Hammer Museum in Westwood, 10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Time: 7-11 pm
RSVP: Via e-mail to rsvpla@filtermmm.com (Put "BIG" in the subject line!)
Cost: It's FREE as long as you RSVP by 5 pm on July 30th

So if any of you do go, make sure you stick around for the Q&A with David Lynch. Ask him "What the fuck was up with the bunnies?" for me and then e-mail me and let me know what he says.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Song of the Day - Grace Kelly

One of the tunes I've been rocking out to lately on my iPod is Mika's Grace Kelly. His vocal style is reminiscent of Freddy Mercury--which he alludes to in the lyrics of the song. It's fun stuff!



Grace Kelly

Do I attract you?
Do I repulse you
with my queasy smile?

Am I too dirty?
Am I too flirty?
Do I like what you like?

I could be wholesome
I could be loathsome
I guess I'm a little bit shy
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me
without making me try?


I try to be like Grace Kelly
But all her looks were too sad
So I try a little Freddy
I've gone identity mad!

I could be brown
I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful
I could be purple
I could be anything you like
Gotta be green
Gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you walk out the door!

How can I help it
How can I help it
How can I help what you think?
Hello my baby
Hello my baby
Putting my life on the brink
Why don't you like me
Why don't you like me
Why don't you like yourself?
Should I bend over?
Should I look older
just to be put on the shelf?


I try to be like Grace Kelly
But all her looks were too sad
So I try a little Freddy
I've gone identity mad!

I could be brown
I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful
I could be purple
I could be anything you like
Gotta be green
Gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you walk out the door!

Say what you want to satisfy yourself
But you only want what everybody else says you should want

I could be brown
I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful
I could be purple
I could be anything you like
Gotta be green
Gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you walk out the door!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Talk to Me

I went to see this movie today because it stars Don Cheadle. I'd watch him in ANYTHING. If they did a sequel to Mulholland Falls with Melanie Griffith's now fucked up face and Nick Nolte looking like his infamous mug shot, I'd see it if Don Cheadle had a cameo in it. I'd watch another NINE HUNDRED HOURS of Inland Empire for a five second shot of Cheadle. I adore him.

And he's amazing in this film about D.C. DJ, Talk show host, stand-up comic and community activist Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Jr. An ex-con with a talent for "pissing people off," Petey worms his way into an on-air slot at WOL-AM and becomes an overnight sensation. Cheadle owns this role--from the gravelly voice and gritty philosophy to the strutting walk and in your face personality. As Petey, he portrays a man both cocksure and insecure--and manages to make us root for him even when he's being an asshole.

Directed by Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou), the film evokes the history and culture of the late 60s and 70s. The costume and set design is fantastic and the supporting performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Dewey Hughes, Petey's best friend and manager, and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle and Flow) as Petey's girlfriend Vernell Waters, are top notch. Henson especially stands out in a role that's a 180 degree turn from her submissive portrayal of the shy pregnant prostitute standing by her pimp. She's a force of nature in this role. But have no doubt--this is Cheadle's movie. He not only stars but executive produced the film as well.

I lived in D.C. for many years, but never had the opportunity to hear Petey Greene (way before my time!). Based on his depiction in Talk to Me, he sounds like he would have been worth listening to.

Mulholland Falls

I watched the "other" Mulholland movie last night. Mulholland Drive is the weird David Lynch flick (remember "D" equals "drive" and "David.") and Mulholland Falls is the complete waste of time starring Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith (before she fucked up her face so that it's unrecognizable), Chazz Palminteri, Treat Williams, John Malkovich (slumming big time--must have needed the paycheck...), Daniel (the other other Baldwin brother) Baldwin, Andrew McCarthy and Jennifer Connelly's breasts. Really, Connelly's breasts are the only interesting thing in the movie. There's not one true, real or honest moment in this wretched piece of dreck. (I think Jennifer's breasts are the real deal--unlike most of silicone loving L.A.)

Next...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Twin Peaks Revisited

After seeing two David Lynch movies in as many days (that's a lot because a little Lynch goes a LONG way!), it got me to thinking about Twin Peaks. A quick check of IMDB reminds me that TP aired 17 years ago! That blows my mind. I was devastated when it was canceled. But what makes my head spin even more is not its cancellation (let's face it, despite critical acclaim and cult status, it wasn't a ratings bonanza), but how the hell did it get on network TV to begin with?

I could understand if it was an HBO series. Cable is known for darker, edgier material. But this aired on ABC. The network that gave us the banality of According to Jim and The George Lopez Show. I'm trying to wrap my mind around the pitch meeting between David Lynch and some network exec (who obviously did NOT see Eraserhead or Blue Velvet...):

Lynch: It's a murder mystery...

Exec: Excellent. Murder She Wrote does great numbers for CBS.

Lynch: Well, it's not episodic. There's not a new murder every week. Just the one...

Exec: Only one?

Lynch: Yeah. Who killed Laura Palmer?

Exec: That's it? That's the whole show?

Lynch: Well, no. There's an FBI agent who has to solve the murder. He's like a fish out of water in this weird northern town. So he has to team up with the town sheriff.

Exec: So it's like a buddy action adventure? Like 48 Hours? That could work...

Lynch: Not really.

Exec: So we've got ONE murder, no action, no adventure, no buddies. What do we have to keep the audience interested?

Lynch: We've got pie. And coffee. Lots of pie.

Exec: Hmmmm--well, maybe there's a product placement tie-in with Sara Lee and Maxwell House...What else?

Lynch: Pretty girls. At least three. Four if you count Laura Palmer.

Exec: Isn't she the dead one?

Lynch: (nods and shrugs)

Exec: Make that 3.5 pretty girls. Keep going...

Lynch: Well, there's a one armed man--

Exec: Like the fugitive?

Lynch: Not exactly. And the log lady...

Exec: Log lady? What does she do?

Lynch: She carries around a log.

Exec: Oh.

Lynch: And a giant and dancing dwarf...

Exec: David, this is the 90s. We have to be PC. They're called "little people" not dwarves.

Lynch: Gotcha. And the killer turns out to be an evil force named "BOB."

Exec: Bob?

Lynch: No, BOB.

The Exec looks confused. He clears his throat and rises.

Exec: Well, David--thanks for coming in! We'll discuss this with the programming department and get back to you...

After Lynch leaves, the Exec gets his assistant on speaker phone.

Exec: Doris--get Aaron Spelling on the line. We've got an hour to fill and I need something more grounded and realistic. Like Fantasy Island...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Trapped in a David Lynch Nightmare

As part of the "netflixing," I rented both Mulholland Drive and Mulholland Falls. Mulholland Falls is some sort of noir drama starring Nick Nolte--I think. I'm not sure 'cuz I haven't watched it yet. I watched Mulholland Drive the other night. It's the weird David Lynch one. It was great preparation for going to see his latest, Inland Empire at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica with my friend Jack last night. As confusing and elusive as Mulholland Drive was, it was like an episode of Sesame Street compared to Inland Empire.

First off, Inland Empire is NINE HUNDRED HOURS LONG!!! Well, really it's about three hours long, but it feels like it's NINE HUNDRED HOURS LONG!!! There are time shifts and multiple plot lines and characters morphing into different characters. The lines between fantasy and reality completely blurred--and a sitcom starring bunnies with an off-kilter canned laugh track. Lynch specializes in depicting the subconscious--the dream state where things are dark, twisted and our ugly inner truths are revealed.

You know how when you're dreaming and your friend Andy is in your dream but he doesn't look like Andy but you know that's who it's supposed to be and you're at the movies but then you're in the movie and then you're at a club with your friend Susan--even though you don't have a friend named Susan and in fact don't know any Susans and then the bad guys are chasing you and you're running and running and you realize that you're not getting anywhere...

That's pretty much how a David Lynch movie works.

If you go into Inland Empire realizing that--not trying to make sense of or even follow the plot, you're in for one heckuva ride. Although at times it feels like you're lost in a labyrinth--walking in circles, running into walls, covering the same ground over and over and not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Laura Dern is fantastic and very courageous. Justin Theroux, who was also in Mulholland Drive, does a great job here. The rest of the cast is top-notch--Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton, Julia Ormond--but it's Lynch's vision all the way. He is a unique and original voice. He's definitely an acquired taste and not for everyone. But if you can sit for NINE HUNDRED HOURS (OK, it's really only three!), you will be amazed at his artistry. Or alternately, you may be frustrated and/or bored out of your mind. Lynch does not spoon-feed his audience.

More accessible but no less weirdly Lynchian is Mullholland Drive. When I watched this Wednesday night, I forgot that Lynch's movies were dreams on film. So the first two-thirds of this film played like a classic noir piece, except for some ostensibly odd scenes here and there. In the last third of the film, it twists into an entirely different movie and recolors your understanding of the first part of the movie. This is the film that made Naomi Watt's career and she does a terrific job. Lara Elena Harring is also amazing here as a classic noir damsel in distress. If you're a newbie to the whole demented world of David Lynch, this film is probably a good place to start--as well as renting DVDs of the Twin Peaks series.

Inland Empire--and David Lynch's work in general--is not for the faint of heart or the lazy intellect. It is a uncompromising, demanding, challenging piece of film making. As Dern's character says in the movie, "I can't tell if it's yesterday or tomorrow and it's a real mind fuck..."

And so it is. And so it is...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Netflix Quick Picks

Due to the dearth of decent TV during summer months, I've upgraded my Netflix account to two movies at a time. Initially I had a free 3 month subscription from Film Independent as part of a promotion to enable people to watch and vote for Spirit Award nominees. I was really impressed by how quick and easy the whole thing was, so I kept it up after my free trial expired. But I downgraded to one movie at a time. Three was too stressful. They'd be sitting on top of the TV, taunting me. Not so much with just one or even two at a time. Hey there you in your little red envelope--just try to gang up on me now!

Anyway, I've been watching a lot of movies. So I thought I'd give a rundown of what might be worth adding to your queue (in my humble opinion) and what you can just skip.

1. The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy - rented these in anticipation of The Bourne Ultimatum coming out next month. Both are very decent action thrillers.

2. Croupier - Clive Owen's breakout role. It's OK. He's hotter in Gosford Park and Children of Men.

3. Garden State - Slightly self-indulgent--it has its moments. OK if you're a Zach Braff fan.

4. Closer - Very powerful performances. Definitely worth renting if you're into character studies.

5. Me and You and Everyone We Know - It has its moments but overall it was on the painful side. Skip.

6. The Squid and the Whale - Love Jeff Daniels (check him out in The Lookout!), hated this movie.

7. Junebug - Hated this one even more--although Amy Adams does shine here.

8. Lord of War and The Weatherman - Nic Cage double feature. For anyone pained by a lot of his recent acting choices (Ghostrider?), these are two overlooked and underrated performances. Both are very similar in that the protagonist is fairly unlikable and provides a cynical running commentary to the plot.

9. Inside Man - Clive Owen spends most of the movie with his face covered. What a waste! But all in all it's a smart caper movie.

10. Jacob's Ladder - Very strange, like being on an acid trip.

11. Spanglish - Has its moments--some amazing performances. Especially by Cloris Leachman and Sarah Steele.

12. Lawrence of Arabia - possibly the most overrated, tedious movie EVER! Snore.

13. A Man for All Seasons - I generally love stories about Henry the VIII, but this had long and interminable scenes of dialogue. Not active or visual enough to be a movie. If you loved Dinner with Andre (and I did NOT!), you might like this.

14. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - It's a bit long, but brilliant! Everyone should see this movie at least once.

15. The Magnificent Seven - Classic. Worth renting.

16. Bullitt - Part of my mission to figure out why Steve McQueen was "all that" back in the day. I still haven't gotten it figured out. Back in the 60s/70s, I'm sure action movies like this and The French Connection were groundbreaking, but they're hopelessly outdated and outpaced compared to todays. Rent any of the Die Hards. Or go see the latest installment in the theater.

17. The Getaway - Completely unwatchable, although it picks up some in the third act. Ali MacGraw is the most wooden actress EVER, the dialogue is stilted and I still don't get the whole Steve McQueen thing.

18. Rashomon - I'd heard a lot about this. It's pretty awful. I hear Seven Samurai is better. We'll see...

19. Man About Town - Skip it.

20. Soldier's Girl - Excellent performances. Heartbreaking. If you liked Boys Don't Cry and/or The Crying Game, put this on your list.

21. The Great Escape - More Steve McQueen, but also Charles Bronson and James Garner and James Coburn (who was so young he was still pretty instead of gritty!). Great flick.

22. The Dirty Dozen - Classic. Add it to your list.

23. The Aviator - Flawed, but it has its moments. I'm starting to like DiCaprio more than I used to...

24. Hotel Rwanda - Excruciating, but important to watch. Don Cheadle is amazing as always.

25. City of God - Brilliant movie. Great storytelling. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

26. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead - And the rest of you might die of boredom if you rent this movie...

27. The Constant Gardener - Good flick.

28. Malice - Good flick. The famous Alec Baldwin "I am God" scene.

29. Suicide Kings - Tries to be all smart and twisty but doesn't succeed. Might be worth it to watch Denis Leary being all Denis Leary and Chris Walken doing his spooky thing.

30. The Lives of Others - Won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Pan's Labyrinth really deserved it more, but this film is worth watching.

31. Hustle and Flow - Has its moments, but the Oscar winning song (Hard Out Here for a Pimp) is the best thing about this movie.

32. Infamous - The OTHER Capote movie. Just OK although Sandra Bullock does a good job.

33. Quinceanera - Amazing low budget Spirit Award nominee. Definitely rent.

34. American Gun - Uneven, but it has its moments.

35. A Guide to Recognizing your Saints - Before he was kicking ass in Transformers, Shia LaBouef was playing the younger version of Robert Downey Jr. in this memoir of Dito Montiel's life. Some great performances and innovative film storytelling.

36. The Devil's Backbone - If you liked Pan's Labyrinth, you'll like its predecessor as well.

37. A Lion in the House - Way too long doc about kids with cancer. Depressing material and agonizing to watch. And not just because of the depressing material. Should have been released as a series or edited more aggressively.

38. Stephanie Daley - Amber Tamblyn and Tilda Swinton. Uneven, but engrossing.

39. The Blossoming of Maximos Oliveros - Very unusual and oddly affecting story of a young Filipino boy.

40. You're Gonna Miss Me - Brilliantly neutral documentary about psychologically tormented psychedelic rock legend Roky Erickson and the fight between his youngest brother and his mother to be his guardian.

41. Conversations with other Women - Most of the "theatrical" pieces I see bore me to tears, but as dialogue-heavy as this is, it never gets boring.

42. Road to Guantanamo - Amazing re-creation of the wrongful arrest and detainment of the British Muslim men held in Guantanamo for over two years. Must rent!

43. Chalk - Micro-budget mockumentary about school teachers--it's a complete hoot! Definitely add to your queue.

44. Sorry, Haters - Oddly affecting post 9/11 film starring Robin Wright Penn, Sandra Oh and Abdel Kechiche.

45. Friends with Money - Wonderful performances.

46. Bubble - Odd Steven Soderbergh experiment. Skip.

47. A Prairie Home Companion - There's great Altman and there's not so great Altman. This is the latter.

I've still got a couple dozen picks in the queue--but if anyone has any suggestions let me know!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Me and my Tattoos

I never thought I'd get a tattoo. I'm sure just about everyone who knows me would say the same thing. Especially given the fact that I'm at an age where most people are regretting and/or removing their tattoos. But after all the drama and trauma of 2005 and 2006, I felt the only thing that got me through was my strong, stoic, Saturnine Capricorn discipline. So to honor that, I got a tattoo. I chose the astrological glyph for my sun sign inked on my lower back. A badge of courage, a mark of honor. A "tramp stamp." OK, whatever...

It hurt. Not as bad as I thought it would, but it was definitely not painless. They first ink the outline in black. That feels like someone taking a sharp nail and dragging across your skin. Then they fill it in. That feels like coarse sandpaper rubbing into your skin. But it only takes about 20 minutes. Heck--it took longer to sketch up the drawing before the tattooing process even began! My Capricorn glyph was done at Sharky's Tattoos in Huntington Beach, CA right around my birthday.

After a while, I thought about getting some other tattoos. Since my name is Stella, which is Italian for "star," I've always liked stars. And so I got some tattooed across my left shoulder.













Of all my tattoos, this one hurt the least. It was done by Teri at House of Ink on the Venice boardwalk. She's really nice and very gentle. I love the shading she did and the colors--pink and orange. Personally, I think it's very delicate and sexy looking. Not words one usually associates with tattoos.

At the same time, I proclaimed in permanent ink my love for dolphins by getting one tattooed a couple inches above my right ankle. Cute, huh? Also done by Teri, this one hurt a bit more than the stars, but less than the Capricorn glyph. I had the dolphin and stars both done in mid-May.

Since I was a bit disappointed that the Capricorn glyph was 1. smaller than I expected and 2. placed higher on my lower back than I wanted, I decided to add my rising and moon signs. So last weekend I had the glyphs for Cancer and Gemini inked below the Capricorn one.

This was also done by Teri and it was very painful! But I think it came out beautifully! I love how the design looks so cohesive and how the colors complement each other. It hasn't totally scabbed over and healed yet, so it will look better in a week or so.

So, now I'm up to five. Will I get more? I don't know. Maybe...

Tattoo pics courtesy of Elizabeth Springett. Thanks, E!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gratitude

Previously, I had mentioned my crappy Friday the thirteenth. I won't go into details, but basically--because of a major fuck-up of my own doing--I screwed up a credit card payment. So today, I threw myself upon the mercy of the customer service person at the credit card company. Usually credit card companies are known for being soulless, bloodsucking, money-hungry vampires. But fortune smiled upon me today. (It was, after all, my HALF birthday!) The sweetest, nicest, most generous customer service rep took pity upon me. Thank you, Jennifer of Chase credit card company for waiving the late fee! And more importantly, for absolving me of the finance charges! Bless your fuzzy little heart! You are my hero. And you made my day.

Happy Half Birthday to ME!

Today is my half birthday! I know some of you are scratching your heads and thinking, "What the--???" but I've been measuring my aging process in increments for as long as I can remember. It's not that odd--we measure babies' ages in months and ask any elementary school kid how old he is and he's likely to reply, "Eight and a half!"

But I realize I am well past the years of counting ones age in fractions. Once, I was at the doctor's office and she asked my age. "32 and a half," I replied. She looked up from my chart and subtly rolled her eyes and wrote down "32." Hey--I was just trying for accuracy!

Given that my (full) birthday falls about 3 weeks after Christmas--and is generally forgotten in the orgy of holiday partying and gift-giving, a little remembrance in the summer months seems appropriate. Although convincing others of the validity of a half birthday celebration remains an uphill battle. I did get a Half Birthday card from a friend once. See, even Hallmark recognizes the half birthday! Of course, they also have cards expressing sympathy for your latest divorce or the death of your pet turtle, but it's a start.

I remember when I was interning during my college years. One of my office mates--an older guy named "Bob"--would chat me up during slow portions of the day. One day he asked me how old I was--19? 20? With all the indignation of someone too young to feel complimented when someone thinks they are YOUNGER than they actually are (boy, did I get past that quick!), I quickly corrected him. "I am 21," I said. "In fact, I'll be 21 and a half this weekend!"

So my half birthday came and went. Monday morning Bob asks me how my weekend was. "Fine," says I. "I turned 21 and a half this weekend." "Well, Happy Birthday!" said Bob. "Thanks!" I replied.

Later that day, another co-worker told me the boss wanted to see me. As I walked to the front of the office, I saw all my co-workers--as well as people from other departments--gathered around a big cake. Fred, my boss, was grinning broadly. "Bob told us it was your birthday this weekend!" Color me mortified! "I didn't say it was my BIRTHDAY--I said it was my HALF birthday!" I suspect that Bob didn't really misunderstand me. He was a rather big guy and I'm sure it was a devious plot on his part to get cake. But I had to deal with people coming up and seeing the cake and asking,"Whose birthday is it?" "Stella's." "Oh, when was your birthday?" "Uh, January..."

I still celebrate my half birthday--although I tend to keep it to myself. But to all those like me and Bob who will find any excuse to celebrate, have a piece of cake on me!

P.S. Cake pic courtesy of Pink Cake Box. A blog for cakes! How cool is THAT?!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Shopping in Reverse

Today was a pretty good day. Why can mostly be summed up in two words--"price adjustments." For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, some retailers will allow you up to two weeks to get a partial refund on an item you bought, should the price go down from the time you bought said item. Gap is notorious for sliding prices--especially when they're clearing merchandise out during a sale.

I went there today to return an item and noticed another item that was on the same receipt was selling at a lower price. When I returned my item, they also credited me another $2.02 plus tax for the item I was keeping since the price had decreased. Sweet!

The only problem was--I had bought a sundress on another shopping jaunt and its price had decreased by $10!!! I didn't have that receipt with me and wasn't even sure if it was still within the two week timeframe (when that happens, I usually buy the item again at the lower price and then return it with the old/higher priced receipt. For me, shopping is not a pasttime or a hobby--it's a blood sport!).

So I went back home and searched through my receipts. And searched and searched. Finally I dug through empty Gap bags until I located the missing receipt. It was dated 7/1/07. Current date: 7/15/07. Two weeks to the day! Yay!

So now I'm back in my car, driving to the nearest Gap. When I present my receipt for my $10.02 plus tax price adjustment, the other item on the receipt has also gone down in price giving me a total of $14.11 credited to my Gap card.

I swear if this keeps up , Gap will be paying ME to take their clothes off their hands.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

I felt both excitement and a bit of fear and trepidation when I heard there would be a fourth installment to the Die Hard franchise. Die Hard, in my opinion, is a near perfect action flick. I definitely count it among my favorite movies.

Die Harder wasn't quite up to the standards of its predecessor, but still managed to maintain the rogue cop wise-cracking, kickass action that is John McClane. Die Hard with a Vengeance was a considerable drop in quality. As much as I love Samuel L. (what does that "L" stand for, anyway?) Jackson, turning Die Hard into a buddy action flick was a bad idea.

So almost 20 years after the first Die Hard and more than 10 years after the last installment comes Live Free or Die Hard. At age 52 does Bruce Willis still have his mojo? Will Justin Long (aka "The Mac Guy") be able to hold his own? Will McClane find cartoonishly innovative ways to dispatch the bad guys?

The answers are: yes, Yes and a resounding YES!!! to all three questions. Bruce plays McClane as a bit more world-weary and worse for wear, but still a formidable action hero. In the original, Willis played McClane as an ordinary (well, maybe a bit more clever than ordinary) cop under extraordinary circumstances. 20 years and many butts kicked later, McClane is hardly ordinary--which is why the addition of Justin Long as computer hacker Matt Farrell works. Long's character provides the grounding and comic foil for Willis' larger than life John McClane.

While some of the action sequences strain credulity (seriously--a fighter pilot playing chicken with a semi on the highway?), all are a rollercoaster thrill ride. The villain, played by an icy Timothy Olyphant, and the villain's motivations, hearkens back to the original Die Hard (and Die Hard III for that matter), in that it's all about the money.

I'm surprised more people haven't gone to see this--in my opinion it's the best action flick of the summer (and if you care--Knocked Up was best comedy and Pirates III best epic adventure). If you're a Bruce Willis fan, Die Hard fan, action flick fan--or you have a little crush on the Mac guy, you have to go see this movie! It's so good, I'm now keeping my fingers crossed for Die Hard V.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

I'm not at all superstitious--well, not in traditional ways. I have no problem with spilled salt. I love it when black cats cross my path. Walk blithely under ladders. OK, I will alter my gait so as not to step on cracks--but other than that, I am anti-superstitious. I actually like Friday the 13th when it sporadically rolls around.

But not this one. Today started with phone calls to a state tax agency, computer glitches and nit-picky penny ante producer's reps followed by bank fees and bounced payments and credit card customer service calls. Yikes! That's way scarier than black cats.

Come to think of it, there is a black cat where I work. Maybe I should have let him cross my path for good luck. Better yet, could someone please pass the salt?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reliving your Childhood

Someone sent me a link to TV Party.com. It has a section where you can select a year and see the Saturday morning kid shows that were on the schedule that year. Talk about a blast from the past!


Who could forget The Bugaloos or H. R. Pufnstuf? (The "H.R." allegedly stood for "hand rolled"--and I don't think they were talking about sushi!)






How about Josie and the Pussycats?






Or Scooby Doo?


Or maybe you remember Land of the Lost (yikes--sleestaks!) or Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (I thought Sigmund WAS a sea monster!).


Or maybe your tastes ran to the more classic Underdog or Jonny Quest...



Two of my favorites--which I'm sure no-one remembers--were Here Comes the Grump and Here Comes the Double Deckers! (Note the highly original titles...)








I had a huge crush on the kid in the center. I also had a huge crush on the male animated character in Here Comes the Grump...hey, I was a kid!

For those of you who have no clue about any of these shows, I pity you. Ah, the 70s! The Golden Age of Saturday morning television...