Theater etiquette

March 6, 2007

A tip for those of you still considerate enough at theaters to remember there are other people in the room: never wear a button-up, short-sleeve shirt to a packed house.  The starchy sleeves will flare out and tickle the arms of the people sitting next to you.  It will almost certainly lead to discomfort and awkward glances, and it probably isn’t as good of a way to meet a potential sexual partner as it might sound.

House Guests Vol. 2: Flatulence

March 5, 2007

New theory: the reason friends and acquaintances end up at each other’s necks when shrumped into small quarters for long periods of time (like when I host house guests for 8 days) is because they’re uncomfortable farting in front of one another. The methane builds up, and with no where else to go, heads upward. Once it reaches the brain (after about, say, 3 or 4 days depending on bean consumption rates), it begins to poison the mind, and formerly rational people begin to act irrationally. So fart freely, readers. The offensive smell isn’t nearly as damning to friendship as a gassy head.

House Guests

March 4, 2007

Two bits of advice gentle readers:

1) if you’re going to invite friends with non-refundable airline tickets from across the country to visit you, make sure they don’t stay for more than 5 days.

2) …especially if back home they live with their parents. They’re still in Collegiate Candyland, and will not understand why taking off work for a week is a big deal or why you don’t want to eat sushi three times a day.

I won’t go too in-depth into this debacle, because it isn’t that entertaining of a story. But a quick question of summary: how can a guest simultaneously be so upset with you as to not treat you with the slightest modicum of respect or decency (so damned upset that they can’t even be bothered to tell you why they’re upset, they’re that upset), but still be okay enough to expect to continue to sleep in your bed, eat your food, and be chauffeured around to sites of interest?

So close, so farawhatthehell?

February 20, 2007

I remarked to a friend recently that because of the way the movie business is structured, what with its exclusionary practices and disdain for new talent, I actually feel further from my goals here in LA than I did living in Jersey.

And then LA does something completely out of character. I called a production comapny today…

Me: “Hi, my name’s Roger Taylor. I’m calling to see if you have any freelance script reading jobs available?”

Woman who picks up: “Reading… hang on.”

(I sit on hold for 30 seconds.)

“No, it looks like we have 7 readers already, so we’re pretty well full.”

“Oh. Well thanks for checking.”

“Are you a writer?”

“A writer? Yeah.”

“Do you have anything interesting?”

(clearly stalling) “Um…”

“Call me when you do.”

(click.)

Okay, seriously? Seriously? I can’t get a simple reading job, I have to struggle and scrape just to get cast as one of 250 extras for some MTV film no one cares about, none of my writer friends can manage to get an agent, but apparently production companies are so starved for material that they’ll ask random schlubs on the phone if they have any good scripts?

Ever been brought to tears by music?

February 19, 2007

I have. 3 times that I can remember. (have i written about this?)

Once by Jeff Buckey’s “Hallelujah,” once by Yo La Tengo’s “Last Days of Disco,” once by Radiohead’s “Motion Picture Soundtrack” (very much in the context of Kid A as an album, coming at the end as it does). Oddly, all in major keys.

Anyone else?

last.fm

February 18, 2007

As of February 17th, I’ve been a last.fm member for a year.  In that time I logged around 8,000 songs.  This is considerably lower than I would have expected, although it works out to nearly 22 songs a day, and I guess that sounds about right.

My most listened-to artist of last year was Yo La Tengo with 259 plays.  This is appropriate because a) they’re one of my favorite bands and b) I discovered them only a couple years ago and have been going through their extensive back catalog, as well as listening to their most recent release.  Interestingly, they’re perhaps the most underrepresented band on the list, since I own all their music on disc not mp3, and while last.fm does track CDs when they’re played through the computer, it does not count the inordinate number of hours I spend wandering the streets of LA at night with a Discman in my pocket (or the time I spent driving around aimlessly to music before my car stereo broke).

The Beatles clock in at number 2 with 242 plays.  Again, understandable, since I obtained a great many of their albums this year, and again, they’re a top 5 favorite band.

After that there’s a pretty big drop off to #3, Bob Dylan with 145 plays.  I wouldn’t have expected him to rank quite so high, but he did have a new album I listened to quite a bit, and I also picked up Blood on the Tracks for the first time a few months ago.

After that is Sam Phillips, who I was introduced to by the The Gilmore Girls.  She’s the throaty-voiced woman who sings “la la” a lot in the background over an acoustic guitar.  She ranks so high in great part because I found a bunch of her CDs at the Hunterdon County Library in New Jersey and ripped them all to my computer.  Her earlier psychedelic pop stuff isn’t so great, but her newer low-key albums are fantastic.

Rounding out the top 5 is Elliott Smith, a perpetual favorite who never tops my weekly charts, but usually manages a few plays a week.

Buoyed by the fact that I was still familiarizing myself with their work this year are Elvis Costello, at #9, the pillows at #12, Tom Waits at #27, and Bruce Springsteen at #30.  (Had I signed up a year earlier, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Clash, and The Feelies would have ranked quite a bit higher).

Underrepresented because I tend to walk around (or drive) to faster-paced, shorter songs are David Bowie, Weezer, Radiohead and Violent Femmes.  Mellower acts like Nick Drake and The Shins had the majority of their plays counted.

And because last.fm tracks the number of plays, rather than the amount of time listened to, a few artists ended up further down the list than they perhaps ought to have, namely Godspeed You! Black Emperor and a few classical composers (or performers … that’s another thing that’s always a little wonky).

I’m curious to see what the list looks like a year from now.

I have three things in my trunk,

February 16, 2007

and three things only.  They are a spare tire, a frisbee and a whoopee cushion.

stuck downtown

February 13, 2007

Worked on CSI: New York tonight in downtown LA.  They had us park in a ghetto ass parking lot that looked like it was reshaped and gnarled by past earthquakes, and then used as a bathroom by crack addicts.  Everyone else got out okay.  I got a giant purple scrape across my right rear door and a nail through my tire.  I hadn’t changed a flat since I made a video about it for driver’s ed in high school.  Remembered everything okay, but found the factory screwed lugs were on so tight I couldn’t budge them, at least until I gave up and sacrificed my brand new leather shoes that I just bought yesterday by setting the tire iron into place and kicking the hell out of the thing until the lugs loosened.

(for those who don’t know me, I buy about one pair of shoes every two years, so this was a pretty big deal, and I didn’t relish the idea of using them for manual labor… or whatever the foot equivilant of manual is).

I was quite proud of myself when, prior to jacking the car up, I remembered to set something (a cement brick, in this case) behind the diagonally opposite wheel.   That is, until I forgot it was there when I was done and backed up into it.  Because what I needed right then was another flat.  (nothing popped, thankfully).