Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Come on people, we're making it now

Yeah, we're still editing. Don't ask me how. We threw everything we had at it today.

Then tonight we went to a Crispin party at their new LA office. It was fun seeing Chuck and Alex and company even though we were clearly crashing it as guests of Cosmo Street and didn't talk to any of them.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

If you ever want to fly Mulholland Drive

I flew back into LA early this afternoon from Austin (direct flight!), picked up my car and checked back into the hotel. I threw down my bags and had really just one thing in mind: head up to Mulholland Drive. I had the day and the car to myself. So why not?

That and honestly one of my favorite REM songs, "Electrolite", has been on my iPod for a couple weeks now and I was determined to hear it in its home. As most of you know, I'm a bit of a music obsessive. This is what I do when I travel. And it turned out to be positively transcendental. Since Le Blogger won't let me post audio files anymore, here's a video of the song.



And here are its lyrics.

"Electolite"
REM

Your eyes are burning holes through me.
I'm gasoline.
I'm burnin' clean.

Twentieth Century go to sleep
You're plasticine.
That is obscene.
That is obscene.

You are the star tonight.
Your sun electric, outta sight.
Your light eclipsed the moon tonight.
Elecrolite. You're outta sight.

If I ever want to fly.
Mulholland Drive.
I am alive.

Hollywood is under me.
I'm Martin Sheen
I'm Steve McQueen
I'm Jimmy Dean

You are the star tonight.
Your sun electric, outta sight.
Your light eclipsed the moon tonight.
Elecrolite.
You're outta sight.

If you want to fly.
Mulholland Drive.
Up in the sky.
Stand on a cliff and look down there.
Don't be scared, you are alive.
You are alive.

You are the star tonight.
Your sun electric, outta sight.
Your light eclipsed the moon tonight.
Elecrolite.
You're outta sight.

Twentieth century go and sleep
Really deep
We won't blink

Your eyes are burnin' holes through me.
I'm not scared
I'm outta here.
I'm not scared.

I'm outta here.

---

The weird thing is the road turned out to be not much different than Mt. Bonnnell Road in Austin. Two days, two beautiful places.

Mulholland Drive today


Mount Bonnell Road yesterday


I'm Martin Sheen
I'm Steve McQueen
I'm Jimmy Dean

You are the star tonight.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Oh yeah, that's real normal.

I don't even know how to classify this story other than the straight up freak file. I'll try to do it justice.

So today, Mom and Dad and I are going over to see my aunt and uncle's new swank house before heading out to lunch. On the way we took a little detour by Lance Armstrong's new Casa Muy Grande he's building. It looks like it's gonna be insane. Then we turn the corner and come up on a Land Cruiser backing down the street—on our side, the right of way side. No problem, right? But she continues backing for like 100 yards before finally curbing that bad boy. We then ease around her on the left saying "well, that was weird."

Then we see a collar-less golden retriever running dangerously alongside the road in the little grass area and look back to see Woman-In-Reverse is now on foot heading our way. So I roll down the window and say to the dog, "here, poochie, poochie" figuring "exciting stranger guy" has a better chance of wrangling this thing than does "woman who is prolly not gonna be too happy with him when she catches up to him." He, of course, comes right up to my door and so I hop out and grab him around the neck since, again, he has no collar. I start walking him in her direction.

Now did I mention I'm with my folks? Did I mention this woman was reversing her car down the road? Did I mention the dog had no collar and the woman is now on foot coming our way? Do I even need to mention this whole situation looks like a lost dog whom a woman is trying to capture?

Good, because that will make this next part that much more screwed up.

Woman-In-Reverse, who is now about 50 yards away now, starts screaming at me/us "HEY! THAT'S MY DOG! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? HEY!"

I just stopped right there and said "fine, best of luck with that sista" and let go of him. Then I got back in the car. Surely she got him eventually.

But what-the-you-know-what is up with that? Who is this chick that figures two parents and their 30-something son are out on Saturday morning dognapping? Right in front of the owner! And in my mom's Nissan! It's not even a van! I'm not dognapping anything without a sliding door! That's dognapping 101!

Oh yeah, and this is all right in the middle of one of the nicest neighborhoods in Austin.

Go back to where you got your crack, chica.

Personally, I'm going back to Cali tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 24, 2006

I got soul. But I'm not a soldier.

Today was a beautiful day for the annual Texas v. Texas A&M football game/hatefest. About 75 degrees, sunny and no humidity.


That little "'05" is new!

And it was the fist time I'd seen our massive "Adzillatron" scoreboard. Good to see the University is spending their money well.


Sadly, the game never got off the ground. We were losing from the beginning. I don't know who them dudes out there were but they weren't the team that's been on my tv all year. They were awful, all the way around. Even our hero quarterback, Colt. Right up until he got hit so hard he went to the hospital. Eventually, mercifully, the scoreboard read 12-7. And not in Texas' favor. It was dreadful.

The saddest thing?

The last Texas game I went to was on September 13, 2003, against Arkansas. It was mere days before I moved to Atlanta for school and I knew it would be my last game for some time. Oh and the last home game Texas has lost? It was that one. That's four seasons of ball and the two games I've made it to were the only two home losses we've had. I'm banning myself until further notice.

The game got to be so bad, it made me think of ways it could have been worse:

• Angry bees descend on stadium
• Maladjusted weasels descend on stadium
• Disgruntled badgers descend on stadium
• Four words: "Snakes on a stadium"

Lookng back, the highlight of the game may very well have been the cute chick in front of us. Without her, I'd have been despondent.


It was bad enough I started taking some pictures of stuff I hate about A&M. The psuedo-military "corps of cadets" and their fake medals like they actually fought and won something:


Their whole North Korea, "we wear pseudo-military uniforms while we march" band thing:


And of course their Bush-loving, conservative, completely unsafe mixing of things like football and fatalistic religion:

I guess God was on their side.

Thanks alot, God.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The stars at night are big and bright.

This year for Thanksgiving we did something we'd never done before but should do from here on out. It was great. My aunt and uncle recently bought a piece of land in the beautiful, scrub-brushy area southwest of town and so we all went out there this afternoon for our big family gathering. We ate, we drank, we rode horses, we even went on a hayride. And of course I took pictures.

The hayride.


A great one of my brother Martin and his girlfriend Shelly. I mean seriously.


Another one.


Martin sittin' on the fence.


The ranch. This photo doesn't come close to doing the crazy beautiful light out there justice.


And the moon.


And here are some pics of my cousin Isabella.




She's a great subject.

Who can it be now?

I don't know what it is but it seems to me I run into more people in big cities than little ones. In New York I always saw people I know—and I mean people I hadn't seen since college I'd run into on the subway platform. One guy, Roger, I ran into like twice. Granted, alot of that is the fact everyone's on foot. I probably have driven past more than one person I know in other cities.

At any rate, Thursday night outside the Otheroom I saw my friend Beau from the Portfolio Center just driving past. Sadly, I don't have his number or anything but will try to look him up. Forgot he was out there.

Then yesterday morning, having already ripped through the good sections of the NY Times I had resorted to reading some article on the lack of good sommeliers nowadays in the "Dining In" section when I hear "Howard?"

Now, this could have gone any number of ways. Most of them poorly. I mean all that small talk and "what have you been up to?" and all that. And then you're like "where do I start?" and"how long is it until my flight?", etc. Uggh.

Alllow me count the ways this could have gone poorly (and all of these options whirred through my head in the time it took to turn my head the 45 degrees to see who it was):

• An old girlfriend
• An old girlfriend and her husband
• An old girlfriend, her husband and the kids
• Ex coworker
• Current coworker
• Boss (former or current)
• Friend of my parents'
• Friend from high school I wasn't really friends with
• Friend from college I wasn't really friends with
• Friend from somwhere I can't remember whom I spend the entire conversation with trying to place them
• Incredibly well researched Jehovah's Witness/Scientologist/Church of Christer/Baptist/etc.
• Uma Thurman (less likely)
• Autograph seeker (probably the least likely of the options)

So who was it?

Katie from LA who was flying to Portland to meet her sister for Thanksgiving. A city just shy of 10 million people and I run into a person I'd not met four days prior. Weird, right? Of course you could make the case that it was the day before Thanksgiving when airports tend to be filled with the young, the single, and those who've left home for whatever reason. But still.

Happy Thanksgiving, people. Or T-Gibbins as we sometimes call it.

While I'm sure there will be plenty of turkey and stuff, personally I'm here to go freak nasty on the world-class barbecue and Mexican food. And Shiners. And warm weather. And live music. And of course to watch Texas beat the crap out of Texas A&M tomorrow. The whole family is going. Should be a blast.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'll see you in Austin, but I won't have long to stay.

I'll be the first to admit, I've lived a charmed life.

I'll also be the first to admit I'm a few Fat Tires in. And I'm going home to Austin tomorrow for the first time in 11.5 months and can't wait to see my family. So naturally my mood is a bit on high.

But back to the charmed life bidness.

I'm a Texan by birth. There are worse places to be from than the capital of cool, Austin. I'm still trading on that.

Then, in my 26th year, I moved to New York and was there for a glorious year-and-a-half of feeling like I was kind of a daily visitor to their great city. Then September 11th happened and I decided "well, I suppose I'm a New Yorker now." We all were. And for the remaining year-and-a-half I was. I suppose I still am. I always will be.

Funny thing about being a New Yorker is you're trained to be a New Yorker. To be tough. To be hard. To be streetwise.

Between you and I, I'm none of those things.

I'm too laid-back, too nice andtoo trusting. But I managed to play the part. Even the part that says "don't like LA 'cause it's all a big, fake sham full of people obsessed with fronts and facades, status and transportation." It's hard-wired. We were so far above all that pettiness. Right?

Funny things happen when you infiltrate this fair city for two weeks. You start to fall in love with the place. And then on your last night in town (at least until next week) you stop by the dope-ass Otheroom on Abbot-Kinney. A couple of beers. No big deal. The place is filled with laid-back and nice people. Then they start playing tunes.

The Beatles' "Baby you're a rich man", Pavement's "Stereo", TV on the Radio's "Wolf Like Me" , The Doors' "Soul Ktichen." And then suddenly as you sit there, it kind of hits you. This could be home.



I'm off to Austin tomorrow for the holiday weekend and back on Monday to wrap this spot up next week.

Then I'll go and get my stuff.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A magazine called sunset.

There's a magazine, a tape machine, that's everything.

One of my favorite things to do is strap on the ol' iPod, hit shuffle and go walking. No destination, no route in mind, no expectations. Inevitably things begin synching up. Often in ways where you wonder if that little player knows something you don't. I used to do it all the time in NYC but it's way better when you're somewhere you don't live. Ideally you're even seeing things you've never seen before. That's what happened today.

I took not one but two fantastic walks today on the beach. "Clark Gable" by the Postal Service came up first and it went from there. Then the Decemberists' "California One" came on as I sat for a minute to take it all in. There were other golden moments but I was just enjoying them and don't remember them just now. But it was amazing. I walked way north and back and then returned later this afternoon to take some pictures. Apparently the theme of this set was "lines and curves."















The coolest thing was during those precious few minutes when the sun was actually descending below the horizon everyone seemed to stop, if for just a minute, to take it in. I love that.

To quote American Beauty, "when you see something like that, it's like God is looking right at you, just for a second. And if you're careful, you can look right back."

Beautiful.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hey weren't you, aren't you, uh, yeah.

So the spot is coming along and getting funnier every day. We're just fine tuning it and working out some music and graphics but it's looking good. That's about all I can say.

So last night Justin and I went to eat and ended up sitting next to Anthony Michael Hall. At first I was kinda like "hey, check it out." But then as the night went on I began to realize what a cultural force the guy was during his string of Weird Science, Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. Had he had a Say Anything in his teens he'd be John Cusack. Then again, he's no Lloyd Dobbler. But that's not a bad little body of work there, right? When his date left to go to the bathroom a pair of girls told him they were huge fans and that the Breakfast Club was one of their favorite movies. He seemed genuinely impressed and talked to both of them for a bit.

Wait, did I just spend an entire paragraph talking about a celebrity sighting? I'm off my game.

The rest of last night is a whole other post. Quite an adventure, to be sure. One that would change my life in a way I could have nevr imagined.

More on that later.

We gots to go watch Michigan-Ohio State.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

In a Hollywood bungalow...

Here's the silly little "Cribs" thing I shot of the hotel I stayed in last week when I got here. Check it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Is that even funny?

Well, the first rough cut of our spot went in front of the client this morning (sweet 7:30 AM conference call). And it was well-received. Thank god. 'Cause when you're in that room for four days pulling it apart and don't know which way is up you have no idea what you got. Fortunately it's good. Just needs to be funnier.

We had a delightful dinner with the chief last night and then went out for drinks with good ol' Nixon and Stanton who are out here doing something.

And I gotta admit I'm kinda obsessed with Nada Surf about now. Every morning they're all I listen to on the hi-fi that is my laptop. And I rock room 715 like it's never been rocked.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Just another day

Today was spent editing in a darkened room. One of the drawbacks of editing in Santa Monica. Of course, every time we walk outside the conversation goes something like this:

ME: Goddamn, the weather is incredible.

WHOMEVER I"M TALKING TO: Yeah, it's frikkin' nuts.

ME: Yeah, and it's like this all the time.

WHOMEVER I"M TALKING TO: Yeah, I know.

ME: Straight up. Makes you think you could live here. This is pretty chill.

WHOMEVER I"M TALKING TO: I know.

ME: Yeah.

And, scene.

Monday, November 13, 2006

They really are out there having fun...

...in the warm California sun.



That works, right?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Frikkin' Amazing Tree, they should call it.

Friday night we jetted town around 9 or so. Later than preferred but whatever. We drove east toward Joshua Tree but what would a trip out there be without a stop in at the glorious Morongo Casino?

Apparently nothing, 'cause we hit that sucker with both feet and took in some of the finest people-watching ever. That name is dead-on. Moron-Go. While I'm a lousy gambler, I love Indian Casinos for one reason alone. Some people go whale watching, some on safaris and some ride those buggy things to see the polar bears. Me? I like watching freakish people in the middle of the desert spending their Friday nights at the Morongo Casino. We finally escaped around 1:30 AM.

Did I mention we were going camping?

Oh, right. So we plug on for 30 more minutes or so to the area and made a late-night run to a 7-Eleven to buy some water and firewood and stuff before we headed up to where we were camping. After we killed the car lights and the lights from the trunk and all that, it was like daytime out there. It was only a half-moon but, of course, a bazillion stars. It was plenty to set up tents and all that. we then drank beer and sat around our campfire the rest of the night until about 5 in the morning. Got a few hours of sleep and then it was time to pack it in.

We ate breakfast at a cool little mountain place and then headed up into Joshua Tree NP. Immediately, you're hit with that sense of "well, this is why they designated it." The best parks are always that way. This one has worked its way to the top of my list.

We first did some bouldering which helped me remind myself I'm not very good at it. So I took this pic of the others bouldering from a nearby huge rock I shimmied up. You can see them down there in the middle.


And I took some other pictures.



Then we went off on a hike. The light was insane.


We hiked to a little lake in the middle of all this dryness and marveled at the different types of trees.


And the amazing rocks.


Passed a rock formation that looked like a gigantic mouth. Check the petroglyphs on the right and the massive iron deposit across the left face,


Then the light really got good.



And then the sun set.


The whole time we were out there I kept thinking were like some Point Break guys, by day working in advertising and by weekend escaping to the desert and going to the most amazing place. I mean, less than 3 hours away. Nuts. And lastly, here isa pic of the ex-Portfolio Center crew.

Grant, Me, Dave, JD.

The drive back was filled with Modest Mouse and a stop at The Rib Co. in Twenty Nine Palms for a rib dinner. Delicious.

Becase we didn't get back until pretty late and were exhausted, Justin and I had a drink downstairs at the uber-scene that is the Viceroy Hotel. Owen Wilson was there, so that was kinda cool.

Friday, November 10, 2006

To the desert!

A good day of editing and laughing and tonight we're heading out to the desert to camp. Joshua Tree NP, to be exact. Then tomorrow we will throw our best rock climbing moves on her legendary, world-class rocks. I've wanted to go there my whoole life.

The sky is clear, the stars are out and I just burned two whoop-ass cd's of the best desert music you ever heard for the drive. Pictures will be forthcoming.

As the sun sets in the west, we bid you a fond farewell.

That's not funny

Ahh, the first day of editing. It's funny how everything we shot doesn't automatically turn itself into comedy gold. It will. It'll just take a few days. But it's super fun to be actually seeing it on screen. It'll be hilarious. Hopefully. Someday.

My hotel room.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Welcome to the Jungle.

Well, welcome back.

Ok, so the flight out was suprisingly empty. 'Feel like you don't see that much anymore. Was able to spread out and kick it a bit. And then since I can't check into the hotel we're staying in for the rest of the time until tomorrow (Justin's there already), I'm having to spend the night down the road at the Fairmont. But I guess they decided since I was only here for the night to go ahead and upgrade me.

To a bungalow.

A two-story bungalow.

With two bathrooms, a tub you could swim in, and a sauna. Yes, a redwood sauna.

Seriously.

It's more like a townhome. It's ridiculous. I shot a "cribs-like" movie of it that I'll post somehow. Shame it's already 10:30 and I need to get some sleep.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Outside the sun is shining, seems like heaven's not far away.

Back to California.

Again.

For the rest of the month. I'll fly home from there to Austin for Thanksgiving and then back out to wrap this thing up.

And I couldn't be happier.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Raves. And some Rants.

A few raves of late:

• The new LeBron James ads from Nike. They're super funny and the guy's a way better actor than Jordan ever was. And with lines like "I'm gonna be on you like flies on shut your mouth," you can't go wrong.

• Guns and Roses. I've been busting back into the west coast catalog and have to say they're one of the better bands of the past 25 years. We'll see what happens with Chinese Democracy. If it happens at all. Of course it should be noted that when I'm speaking of GnR, I'm speaking of the original, Slash/Duff/Izzy line-up, not the later incarnations. I mean, come on.

• Chuck Klosterman. The guy's a genius and easily my favorite author going at the moment.

• Beck. His new album is wicked good.

• The Decemberists' new album. It listens like a novel.

• Anticipating seeing Borat. It's one of those films I know I'll love. There's no way I couldn't.

• Hotels. I love hotels. I always have. I love checking in and finding out what my room's like and then poking around it for a bit, checking the views, etc. Big bathrooms, big beds and super soft sheets. What else is there. Beats the crap out of my life here.

• Traveling. In general. More of it please.

• Fat Tire beer. They carry it in California. It's the best beer on earth. Try it if you're ever west of the Mississippi.


And, of course, a few rants:

• Atlanta traffic. Yeah, haven't been missing it. Even in the capital of traffic last week it wasn't that bad because they know how to drive. Don't dick around in a lane that ends and don't slow the fuck down if you're exiting. It's not that fucking hard. Fuck.

• Tomorrow's elections. I suppose I'll drag myself out there and make my vote heard but only because I think the people in power are sucking. But I don't have any confidence that whoever wins will make a difference at all. See my speech posted on 9/27 if you're interested.

• Political ads. I don't know who the bottom-feeders are who make these pieces of shit but they're clearly souless.
Once again, no one has ever gotten a job by talking about what's wrong with the other applicants. So why do we allow these supposed "representatives of the the people" get away with that crap? I'll never understand why our worst people get chosen to hold those positions. My grandfather was a long-time Senator in the state of Texas and later Attorney General and so I know good, honest people used to hold these jobs but not anymore.

The Onion makes me cry

I don’t even know what to say about this, but every time I read it I laugh so hard I cry. Check it.