Friday, August 27, 2010

That Feels Better

Today was good. It began like this...

My alarm went off at eight this morning. I had set an alarm because my car was parked on the north side of the street which is subject to street cleaning on Thursdays from 10:00 - 1:00.
I first responded by hitting the snooze button which gives me an extra 5 minutes of sleep and a little extra time in whatever dream world I was currently part of. This continued until 9:25. I hit the snooze button 16 times.
I reluctantly got up, stepped in the shower and stood under the stream of water for 10 minutes with my eyes closed before actually doing any washing. By the name I got dressed and formed a plan of action it was about 9:55.

As I walked into the the street towards my car, I noticed the parking enforcement lady coming around the corner. She parked behind a car that was a few car lengths in front of mine and waited for it to turn 10:00. They don't fuck around.

I drove to a coffee shop in Silver Lake, got a coffee, went outside and simply sat and watched the cars go by for the first 15 minutes or so. A couple tables over from me I noticed an actor that had worked in one of my blocking assignment back in MPV375. I thought I'd recognized him earlier but he had just taken off his glasses now and I knew it was him for sure. I didn't say anything but I did silently revel about the coincidence for a short while. I then read about 25 pages of "The Sun Also Rises," taking cigarette breaks at certain intervals. At that point I realized that I was going to have a good day.

I left the coffee shop around 11:45. I had planned on driving to the reservoir and walk around for a bit only because I'd never done it and it looked nice this morning. However, as I was driving down Glendale, I remembered a guitar shop nearby and it occurred to me that I could finally go pick up some new strings for the banjo which has been 'out of order' since...June? I don't know. It's been a while.

I got back to Koreatown at about 12:30. As I walked through the hallways of my apartment building, I noticed I was walking with a slight spring in my step. By that I mean, I literally felt I was much...bouncier with my walk. Now, having completely embraced my day's worth, I was a little let down to see a fairly messy apartment. Without taking my shoes off, (which is usually the absolute first thing I do upon arriving home,) I started picking up. I hung up some clothes, made the bed, did the dishes, swept the floor. And at about the point where I usually consider my apartment clean, I just kept going. I began my fit of cleanliness by completely cleaning and organizing the shit out of the bathroom which took about half an hour.

Finally, I got to stringing the banjo which went much more smoothly than usual.
It sound so fucking good. And so I fiddled around with that for a good while.

After that is when the real craziness kicked in. I noticed a bunch of loose envelopes and papers just laying around everywhere and It really started bothering me. At that led me to think about all of the crap I have stored inside of boxes that are just sitting up in my closet shelves. I said fuck it and I emptied out everything in those boxes and decided to get rid of everything that I truly don't need.

Granted there were a few things that were kept because they held a certain level of sentimental value. But this is the pile of stuff that I decided to throw away...

And this is what it all looks like inside of trashbags...

What this morning was 5 large cardboard boxes worth of crap is now 2 large cardboard boxes filled with some important things, some sentimental things and little bit of crap.

Among the crap that I went through today, I found 4 old pictures frames that I had used on set a long, long time ago. I also found a roll of posters that I had on the walls in my old apartment. They were the posters you find in the free swag bins at record stores that cost 50 cents a piece. So I utilized four of them to work with the pictures frames...

- This one is from a My Morning Jacket poster. It's kind of lame but whatever.

This was from a Cursive poster. There was an antique, dirty looking sky that surrounded the logo so I cut it up in pieces and put it together in a collage sort of thing. It didn't quite turn out how I had wanted it.

This was from a little pamphlet thing I got from LACMA when they had the Dali exhibit either last year or the year before. It folded out into this fairly large still from from "Un Chien Andalou."
And then the last was from a promo poster for The Decemberists' "The Crane Wife." It turned out to be my favorite.

My font changed for some reason halfway through this but I'm not going to bother changing it.
So after all of this, I played some more banjo, read a little bit, ate (for what I realized was the first time all day) and then began writing this.

The internet wasn't working at all throughout the day. If it had, I don't think I would have put forth this much effort. But once I had done all that I could do, the internet started working again. I kind of wish it worked that way all of the time; stay inactive during the day until I've done something productive. Night privileges. was a good day. I hope for another one soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nobody Annoys Me Like I Annoy Myself

How do you become a drifter? The obvious answer to the question is to say fuck everything and just start being it. There's no training or hidden fees involved. There's no waiting list. There's nobody there to read your resume or who cares what skills you've acquired or how much shit you've learned. You just pack up and go.

Q: Is it REALLY that easy.
A: Maybe.

It depends how willing you are to give up the "progress" you've made in molding yourself into a respectable member of society. If you quit now it's back to square one. You'll leave your home behind, you will essentially leave your friends behind, you will leave the majority of your possessions behind and you'll be leaving a piece of yourself behind. The piece of you that has the intention of doing this or that and proving to he or she that your capable of doing this and that for some fake version of self gratification. If you're Ok with leaving that behind then is that easy.

This all came about as I was watching a documentary on Bukowski. They didn't expel upon that portion of his life much, but they did make mention of the fact that in his younger days, he spent a generous amount of time just exploring the states. Traveling around seeing the country. And the same went for a lot of prolific characters, namely those involved with the Beats. That was partially what they were all about. It seemed almost a pre-requisite. But what did these people start with? What did they give up?

I don't know. I suppose it doesn't really matter. I suppose that if one were to want that kind of freedom and desire it with a burning passion it wouldn't be a matter of what you were leaving behind but rather why you haven't already walked out the door. And I guess that's where I fail. My fears overpower my desire. I'm too scared to walk into territory in which I'll never be sure of my safety, my wellness or my comfort.

Ideally, I would pack a backpack with clothes, a few books, my guitar and some food. I would sell everything else and throw away what can't be sold. Cancel my utilities and turn off my phone. I'm not sure If I would get rid of my car or not. Because this lifestyle wouldn't last forever. It would last until I figured something out. I guess I'd leave it parked somewhere. Maybe take it to Illinois first and start from there. Although that would require the extra step in trying to explain to my parents what I'm doing and resist their trying to talk me out of it.

But unfortunately I doubt I'll ever go to that extreme. And sadly I have no legitimate reason why I won't. I have nothing holding me back right now other money related issues which can be overcome. There's no person, no job, no nothing that stands and my way and I sit here and pretend that there is.

Nobody annoys me like I annoy myself.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dog From Hell

There's a feeling that I just kind of discovered today. Not that I was the first one to ever feel this feeling but rather I've just today conceived and registered it as a feeling that can be felt. You know it, too. It's that feeling you got when you were little. You had a friend stay over night and the next day, when they left, there was that utter dullness that was left behind. You were having a blast for a full 24 hours. You had a companion who was totally down to do whatever you wanted to do and vice versa and it was just constant fucking fun. And then it was over. It's like coming down from a high. Everything around you loses its appeal and your life just feels lame.

This is what's happening right now. For the time being, everything in this apartment is fucking dull. The guitars sit on their stands un-played and the books sit on the shelf un-read. The phone hasn't made any kind of noise in the past 12 hours. The fan is shaking its head, "no" in slow motion. Movies are too much of a commitment. I did trim my beard, however, for about half an hour. That was fun.

Honestly, I've become bored with writing this. I can't decide if I just want to publish it as it is or just delete it.

....fuck it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bees And Their Eternal Freedom

After returning from Illinois, I was greeted with a filthy car that had endured what appeared to be two weeks of endless dust storms and had accumulated a tree's worth of leaves in the cracks and crevices of the doors and the hood. And because driving a car that dirty in the glaring sunlight makes me uncomfortable, I chose to wash it. Which was fun. I take great pleasure in washing my car on a nice day with some music playing in the background and having no one bother me for the hour or so that it takes.

I finished washing the car. I wrapped up the hose, dumped the soapy water, and shammed it dry. After washing a car, I like to stare at it for a little while and admire the shine and the glimmer that seems to tarnish all too soon. As I did this, I smoked myself a cigarette and began thinking of my responsibilities. All of the things that can turn a nice relaxing afternoon into a worry-fest of unnecessary proportions.

This whole finding work thing is really getting to be frustrating. I, as well as many others, am at a point where so much is up in the air and it all resists falling into place. I received a deadline from my parents during this past visit. If I'm not absolutely and completely self-sufficient and fully employed by March (when my lease is up,) I am to move back home, work for a while until I pay off my loans and save up enough money to try again. Obviously, this can't happen. It really just can't. And so I need a job. Now. Give me one.

And then I think about my current apartment. (I'm still in Ventura because I dread having to go back to it.) Living in Koreatown has become one of my top three sources of stress. I didn't realize this until I went home and could spend two weeks just not giving a fuck about anything. I'm constantly worried about my car being parked outside. Every week I see a new pile of broken glass on the sidewalk where it looks like someone's window was busted out and I feel it's just a matter of time before that pile of glass is MY pile of glass. It's that or it's wondering if the fucking parking enforcement has made up some new restriction that I am unknowingly not in compliance with and decide to charge me ungodly amounts of money for it. Or it's coming home past 8:00 p.m. and having to drive around for 20 minutes looking for a parking spot. Or having to drive an hour to go five miles. (Obviously exaggerating.)

Anyway. The point is a lot is on my mind in this moment with my car shining and my cigarette burning and the sound of the crazy neighbor's police scanner from across the driveway.

And then comes this bee. It's a fairly large bee and it lands on my car on the crack of the hood. It starts walking along this crack, feeling shit out and kind of halfway falling into the crack from time to time. Walking the line. This went on for maybe three minutes. There was nothing remotely exciting about this occurrence but it had my full attention. I was originally interested in how much he was struggling to stay standing due to the crack he kept falling into. I said to it, "just move away from the crack and you'll stop falling into it. The solution here is so simple." But it's a bee. It's going to do what it's going to do. So then after falling into the crack one last time it flies away. I watch it circle around and above my car. It did some random zips here and there and then it finally flew over the roof and out of sight. I all the sudden hate that bee. Here I am, a product of the same mysterious nature that all living things are a product of, including this bee, and yet I have to worry about things like parking and gas prices and diet and cancer and war and people's feelings while this bee worries about...whatever the fuck bees worry about. It's not really fair is it? Yeah we're supreme. We're capable of a lot more than a bee is capable of but that all kind of becomes a burden. Bees and everything else that is not human live on the basic instinct to survive and that's all they really care about. When they're hungry they eat. When they're tired they sleep. When it's time to reproduce, they fuck. We obviously do all of that too, but it's just so much more complicated. We get hungry, we find food. But in order to eat that food we exchange it for pieces of paper with faces on it. But in order to get the pieces of paper with faces on it, we have to work jobs. But in order to work jobs we have to be educated and capable of performing these jobs. But in order to be educated we have to go to school for years and years. But in order to go to school you have to exchange for more pieces of paper with faces on it that comes from someone that's already been through the process. And then for the rest of your life it's all about getting more pieces of paper. A bee flies around a finds a flower and drinks its sweet nectar. There's no bullshit involved. To reproduce we have to develop personalities and interests so that we might use them to attract other people whose personalities and interests we are also attracted to. And then you spend a lot of time together and go through a bunch of hoops and hurdles and one day you decide to make a baby. I don't know much about the sex lives of bees but I'm pretty sure they just kind of do it. I don't believe there's much else to it. Bees just have it so easy and that's my beef.
So then, while I wasn't looking, a bird poops on my freshly washed windshield. That motherfucker.

So anyway, I was angry for a while, wishing that maybe I was a bee instead of a human. But then later I ate a burrito and forgot about the whole thing because burritos are way better than fucking nectar.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Excerpt from "Oil!"

Excerpt from Upton Sinclair's "Oil!"

~ He had a sudden fit of desperation; and instead of the particular kind of embrace which has to do with dancing, he put his arms about her in a way that made it impossible for her to dance. This was a crude procedure, no credit to junior classman and leader of fashion in a high-toned universtiy. Bunny knew it, and was in a panic. She would not understand - she would be angry, and send him away!
But no, she was not angry; and somehow, she was able to understand. There is an old saying, that fingers were made before forks, and in the same way it is true that embraces wre made a long time before words. Bunny became aware that his clasp was being returned - and by a pair of capable arms, that were able to hold a girl upside down in the air and carry her into the surf! It was all right!
"Oh, Vee!" he whispered. "Then you do care for me!" Her lips met his, and they stood there in the moonlight, locked together, while the organ music rose to a shout.
"Vee, I was so scared!" And she laughed. "You silly boy!" But suddenly she drew back her head. "Bunny, I want to talk to you. There's something I must say. Let me go, and sit down, please - no, in that chair over there! I want us to talk quietly."
There was fear in her voice, and he did what she asked.
"What is it Vee?"
"I want us to be sensible, and know what we're doing. It seems to me hardly anybody I know can be happy in love, and I swore to God I never would get into it again."

"You'll have to get a new God!" Bunny had managed to recover the use of his tongue.
"I want us to promise to be happy! Any time we can't be happy, let's quit, and not have any fuss! Let's be sensible, and not go crazy with jealousy, and torment each other."

"You'll be a plenty for me," declared Bunny. "I surely won't make you jealous!"

"You don't know what you'll do! Nobody ever knows! It's the devil's own business - oh, you've no idea what I've seen, Bunny! You're nothing but a babe in arms."

"You'll be good to me, Vee, and raise me up!" "How do you know what I'll do? How do you know anything about me? You want me, without really knowing what I am or what I'll do! I could have told you a million lies, and how would you have known? The next woman that comes along will tell you a million and one, and how will you know about her?"
"That's too easy, Vee - you'll tell me!"
He sank down on his knees before her, and took one of her hands, intending to comfort her; but she pushed away.
"No, I don't want you to do that. I want you to think about what I'm saying. I want us to decide in cold blood."

"You make my blood cold," he laughed, "telling about the vamps of Hollywood!"

"Bunny, a man and a woman ought to tell each other the truth - all the time. They ought to trust each other that much, no matter how much it hurts. Isn't that so?"

"You bet it's so."

"If that means they give each other up, all right - but they've no business holding each other by lies. Will you make that bargain, Bunny?"

"I will."

"And I want you to know, I don't want any of your money."

"I haven't got any money, Vee - It's all Dad's. That is the first painful truth."
"Well, I don't want it. I've got my own, and I'll take care of myself. I've got a job, and you'll have yours, and we'll let each other alone, and meet when it makes both of us happy."
"That's too easy for a man, Vee!"
"It'll be a game, and those are the rules, and if we break the rules, it's cheating."
Bunny could assure her that he had never cheated in a game, and would not cheat in this one. So he overcame her fears, and she was in his arms again, and they were exchanging those ravishing kisses, of which for a time it seems impossible ever to have enough. Presently she whispered, "Some one will come out here, Bunny. Let me go in, and I'll dance a bit, and then make my excuses and get away, and you come up to my room."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

There is light in my lady's house

"Thank God you see me the way you do, strange as you are to me"

Interesting day. Starting from the very beginning of it, I had the pleasure of having one of the better conversations I can recall having with the lovely Samantha Escobar. All things were discussed and even as the conversation concluded around five in the morning, I was ready to keep going. I ended up not being able to fall asleep for another hour or so after that. Needless to say, I woke up late. Probably somewhere in the 11:30 - 12:00 region. I woke up thinking that the day might begin well having just made this connection with someone who up until a couple weeks ago was almost a complete stranger to me. However, I woke up feeling quite the opposite. I didn't want to get out of bed. There were children yelling at the top of their lungs outside, the ice-cream truck parked across the street sat for hours emitting its insufferably repetitive jingle of "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" and it was just one of those morning when you realize that you don't actually have any reason to get up and that just makes you sad. And then after finally getting up, I start feeling all of this anxiety.

  • My car has been parked in the same place for 4 days. Is it ok?
  • I don't have a job. I haven't worked a set in a month. Running out of money.
  • How am I going to pay rent.
  • My registration is still expired. Need to get new stickers.
  • Mom is calling. What does she want? Is she going to ask if I've gotten any work? I don't want to deal with that.
  • How long do I have to live in Koreatown? I kind of hate it. So much so that I don't even want to go outside and be reminded of it unless I have to.

So just all of this shit piles up in my head, my first instinct is to start drinking or to smoke but I convinced myself that wouldn't really make it better. So I'm sitting here having a fairly bad day when my phone rings. It's Mr. Trent Ellis and he has a job for me. Almost instantly I felt better. He got me a 2nd 2nd AD job on some short for the next six days at $125 a day. Not the best rate but I'll take it.

So anyway, my day got better. And as thoughts of all of the negative things left my mind, positive ones came rushing in.

  • I'm going home in a little over a week.
  • I get to spend July 4th in California for the first time with my good friends.
  • I have friends that think of me when a job opens up.
  • I'm living on my own and getting by.
  • I just met one of the most intriguing, unique, lovely, inspiring people I've ever met and we seem to get along.
  • Things are constantly changing. New things happening. Life is being lived and I'm feeling pretty goddamn lucky to be where I am.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nights & Weekends

Written & Directed by: Greta Gerwig and Joe Swanberg

So I just recently watched this movie. This was two days ago. I'd been searching through the Netflix "Instant Play" options and decided to do a search for The Duplass Brothers and in the results were

  • Cyrus
  • Baghead
  • The Puffy Chair
  • Nights & Weekends
Now the only reason Nights and Weekends popped up is because Jay Duplass is in the movie for a minute and I think he produced it or something. Also seeing that Greta Gerwig had so much involvement and because I enjoyed her performance in Baghead and in Greenberg, I decided to give this a try.

Almost immediately, with the opening shot of the film, you can tell what you're getting yourself into. It's clearly a very low budget movie with minimal camera work and an improvised script. Although there have been many instances in which I'll begin watching a movie like this and just instantly get fed up with it's unambitious nature, this was different.

It opens with Mattie and James, the film's protagonists fucking on the kitchen floor. Or rather preparing to bone. The camera is set in one position for the entire scene which lasts probably 5-7 minutes. And the scene doesn't actually portray any sex. They sloppily enter the kitchen, fall to the floor and spend these 5-7 minutes undressing each other. And it wasn't pretty, ya know. Articles of clothing don't come off as easy as movies usually depict. But with this, it felt so real. Like these two people are REALLY about to fuck. And from that point on I was hooked.

The film goes on and you soon realize that you're not in for a plot full of drama or really a plot at all. The film explores the difficulties of maintaining a long distance relationship. It's separated into two halves. The first half being a time when they were together all of the time. The second half depicting their relationship suffering from the long distance.

Say what you will. I understand this isn't a film that would generally receive very much enthusiasm, but I thought it was great. I felt that the two actors portrayed some of the more genuinely REAL performances I've seen in a long time. I believed that relationship. For a moment, I believed that these were actually people that some camera man was following around.

...and it really inspired me, ya know? I realized that, although the stuff I want to do will be slightly more plot driven, the most important thing I want to portray is real life. And this is a sentiment that is constantly thrown around by amateur filmmakers. People want to be "truthful" and "honest" in what they're portraying but that can come down to the truthful reaction Shia LaBeouf has when a robot is chasing him. When I say it however, I mean that I want to capture the moments that people live their lives for. The moments that make people nostalgic. Create scenarios where people can be totally and completely intrigued based not on just conflict necessarily but on a conversation, a mannerism or a look because it's just too real for them to look away.

And I really fucking hate when I get on these rants about where my convictions and passions lie because when I read it back to myself, I feel like I come off sounding like a douche.

But alas, I am who I am and I feel what I feel. And I felt more after watching this movie than I have felt doing anything in a long time.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I've ruined music for myself...but I'm gonna try and make it better

This morning, I woke up well past my desired waking hour. As I walked out into the living room, a heaping pile of records sat on the couch. A friend of mine lent them to me last night but I'd momentarily forgotten due to alcohol induced short term memory loss.

So it's raining out, it's Friday, I'm sure there are things I could be doing but....the rain just takes away my ambition. My hangover doesn't help much either. So with that said, a rainy day seemed like an ideal day to listen to these records; which I'm doing as I write this. Currently, I am listening to Abner Jay, which I'm totally digging.

So I sit here listening to this and eventually I'm going to have to get up and switch sides because I want to hear what else Abner Jay can do. I'm engulfed exclusively in Abner Jay and I can listen to this record as a whole and listen to each song that comprises the one album. And it is this pleasure, (giving the entire album our attention, hearing every song that one musician has to give,) that we've lost with the internet.

Give me an artist. Any artist. Within half an hour, I can go online and download their entire discography. In the case of someone like, I don't know, Tom Waits, that's maybe 25 albums, give or take. Am I going to take the time to sit and listen to all 25 of those albums on my computer? (In the Tom Waits example, my answer is yes, but with just about anything else, no.) No I will not sit and listen to every album and song to JUST be listening to it. This is why I totally understand why people have record collections. With a vinyl record, listening to music isn't just listening to music. It's an activity. To sit down, and listen to a collection of songs from start to beginning. The way we listen to music now, is download as much as we can from an artist we like, (and I unfortunately am no different in this case. I'm just as guilty,) and then maybe stumble upon some of it when we're listening to our entire library on shuffle. The problem is that we have so much access to SOO much music that we don't take the time to listen to appreciate each one as it is. There might be that one song that you like and you just listen to that song.

It doesn't even seem like people listen to CDs anymore. I remember when I would buy a CD and play it in my car until I knew the words to every song. I'd wear it the fuck out and then buy another CD to do the exact same thing to. That doesn't happen anymore. Remember going to school and discussing with your friends whatever CD was big at the time. You didn't even know the names of the songs. It was always, "Well I like number 3,6 and 7." "Oh, well I really enjoyed number 10." Songs were represented by numbers. But that didn't matter because people were at least listening to all of the songs and determining which ones stuck out the most.

Anyway, the point to all of this really is just that music is too easily available today and the selection can just be overwhelming. And so this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to stop downloading music until I listen to what I have. And even then, I sound like a douche because I download music to start with. But I rationalize by buying what I really like on vinyl. Except for Tom Waits because he's impossible to find and then when you do, he costs more than I want to pay. But one of these days, when I start making some money, I'm going to invest in a better record player and start buying records regularly because although collecting vinyl seems to be a fad right now with a certain kind of people, it's one that I completely get.

(The record by this point has changed to Mazzy Star's "Among My Swan." Really awesome. I had never heard of them but I'm glad I know them now. See what happens?)