Thursday, September 22, 2005

Pauly Shore stars in Jurors on the Lam!!
I went in for jury duty on Tuesday, which means, unless I would get called for a jury interview, that I sat in a big room for 7 hours. It was like a long flight, except the bathrooms were bigger, and there was "National Geographic" and "Stuff" in the magazine pool.

I didn't get called.

Luckily, I had High Fidelity to finish. That was two hours. I worked on my play for a bit. Two more. Then I tried to remember which of these comedy powerhouses -- Pauly Shore or Jim Varney -- starred in a jury duty movie. That lead to lists of each's films. I knew Earnest saved Christmas, went to camp/jail, but didn't he also serve on a jury? And if I'm not mistaken, Pauly Shore, in the twilight of his film career, after Encino Man, Son in Law, and In the Army Now, was in a movie with a Baldwin, where they were escaped convicts or something, but only after they were... jurors?

So that was thirty seconds.

We got an hour and a half for lunch, which was nice. I took advantage and walked down Second to Little Tokyo, had some good sushi at this place Marah and I discovered last year. I really liked walking around downtown. Made me nostalgic for memorable walks I've had in New York, San Francisco, Chicago.

When I got back to the criminal justice building, I noticed a 1940s-y commotion across the street at City Hall. Old cars lined the sidewalk, people stood around in dress, a small stage was erected at the top of the steps, as if for some kind of speaker to give some kind of address to the 40s people. Foolishly, I thought this might be a historical dedication (after running into the clan of Midnight Ridazz two weeks ago, the bicyclists who go out in costume, it seemed totally plausible). Then I saw the cameras. Ah yes. This is part of why I love LA. Fiction and real life aren't afraid to mingle.

By the way, they both served jury duty, with varying degrees of hilariousness, I'm sure.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I Was Wrong
She's charming AND cute.

raccoons are the new dogs
We went camping last weekend at Lake Castaic, and it was everything camping should be: beer-filled, fiery goodness. Now don't get me wrong. Being in nature was great too, but really, the surrounding campers provided the most-watched scenery.

Two sites down, there was a group of men (not guys or dudes -- men), who had geared up for the weekend with some chairs and an ipod. For two days, they sat in a circle and listened to music. Their mix ranged from top 40, to salsa, to arena rock, to 80s, to Metallica ("Master of Puppets" Metallica, to their credit), back to salsa, to truly awful synth-metal, which sounded eerily like "You Got The Touch", the smash hit Dirk Diggler sings towards the end of Boogie Nights. The scariest part was the men spent most of their time sober.

A couple other sites had unhappy families, the kind with parents who think constant screaming will curb their constantly annoying children. The most amusing, though, was the lesbian couple across from us. From the looks of it, they'd been there for months. Their clothes were strung up between trees, they had a standing grill, bags every where, chairs, and of course, a pet parrot. It didn't ever say anything. It just squaked a piercing, shrill squak, a sound Marah described as a "a child being molested". A crass comparison? Perhaps. But accurate.

"Well a parrot's cool", you say. "But it's not like they had a pet raccoon". Oh but they did. They walked it around on a leash, which is what made it a pet, I guess. Some times they let it rest on their shoulders, others they allowed it to roam free. It seemed that these wilder-than-normal pets enhanced the nature experience for them, which is fine, but you could just get drunk and have the same results. I refrained from telling them.

The Soika Empire Grows!
I'm an uncle again. This time it's full-on, hardcore uncle action. Not the half stuff I've known to date.

I am pleased to announce the arrival of Zoe Catherine, born Sunday, September 11th, 2005. She's 8 lbs, 21 inches, and healthy -- she will totally kick your baby's ass. Picture is forthcoming, though I imagine she'll look like a ruddy blob of flesh, and totally indistinct from any other new born. But, you know, cute.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

a nice piece of trash to rest your weary head on
The pictures are depressing as hell. One source now says the body count is suspected to be in the tens of thousands. Our president is a self-absorbed shitbag. Our government is incapable/unwilling.

The good news is Maury lives on.

I caught a few minutes of Maury yesterday, and it had a nice, Vikadin effect. A fat white kid, clearly from the suburbs yet "urbanized" enough to be ghetto (his description), was waiting to find out if he was, in fact, his baby's daddy. He wanted the job. Bad. The mother was there, crying. She desperately wanted it to be true... I think... actually, I'm not sure. She just cried a lot. Maybe she was having her own moment. Maybe her appearance on Maury triggered a life crisis.

Anyway, the kid was so earnest about wanting to be babby daddy, he stood up and rapped a rap about children, and how much he loves them, how bad it hurt not knowing if he was the daddy, to which Maury responded, "Wow... I've never seen pain turned around like that, and put to music". (Apparently Maury is a cyborg who has never heard music).

Finally, after all the tension and tears, the stage hand (fresh from the doctor's office?) brought out the sealed envelop with the paternal test results.

And the results were good.

There was much hugging, crying, and later, when they arrived home a new family, rapping.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Writing Music
I like to listen to music when I write. I guess the idea is that if I'm listening to music then the writing will be musical, which is always nice. Sometimes it's just good background. Either way.

The thing about listening to music is it can't be too noisy. Noisy has its place -- driving, shows where you have to stand, drinking PBR. But noisy's distracting if I'm trying to concentrate. And it can't be too soft. I don't want to be put to sleep. Or made to feel heavy, which means no sad songs. (And certainly, under no circumstances except for the writing of a suicide note -- because at this point I'll be so far gone it won't matter -- should I hear any of the following: Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Creed, Kenny G, Mariah Carey, Kenny Chesney, Limp Bizkit, Matchbox 20, the country guy who sings of America's evil-doers: "we'll put a boot in yr ass!". I could go on forever. Not like those are controversial choices or anything. I'm just saying, hearing that shit kicks my creativity in the nuts).

Lately, I've had the perfect mix. There are 4 CDs I can't take out of rotation. I highly recommend for everyone. They are excellente. To the max.

Sufjan Stevens, "Illinois"
Sort of like an indie orchestra. Sufjan Stevens arranges all the parts himself. The songs jump around and pause to reflect, sometimes at once. And they're all totally warm and likeable, without being cheesy. I dare say "Come on feel the Illinoise" is the best song I've heard all year. The CD features some rad art work to boot.

Smog, "A River Ain't Too Much to Love"
At times the simple, hypnotic songs almost get too lulling, but Bill Callahan's voice keeps it alive. It's rich enough to deserve its own record contract.

The Decemberists, "Picaresque"
Their songs are stories, usually. They range from the point of view of a mariner who's stuck in the belly of whale, to a reality show about military wives, to a high school football player who's flubbed embarrisingly on the field. It's mostly tongue in cheek, and damn catchy.

Andrew Bird, "The Mysterious Production of Eggs"
Jeff Buckley minus the melodrama? A less, um, flamboyant Rufus Wainright? Whistle-rock? Atmospheric, literate, and despite multiple instruments, played by two guys who, I'm told, do it all themselves live. Also includes some rad art work.

There you go. Now get it done!

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