Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tired, Tired Hippo

Welcome to the "Sick and Tired" post. No, it's not a blog where I hilariously rant about the inescapable mundane atrocities of life. It's a blog that I write while I am simultaneously sick and tired.

Better sarcastically believe it.
Yep, my head feels like it's filled with marbles, my throat feels like it's smuggling marbles, and my stomach feels like Hitler is playing a game of marbles inside of it. I imagine this is what it must feel like to be a Hungry Hungry Hippo™. That and having really, really low self esteem.

"Food is the only joy I get out of life."
This wonderful bout of illness is happening right as I'm gearing up for production on this short student film, ensuring that I experience every form of headache simultaneously. They should have young adult Girl Scout badges for this kind of stuff.

But amidst all the stress and fatigue, I'm still finding ways to feel rewarded and enriched. I've been doing a lot better at work lately, which didn't seem possible a month ago. Or a week ago. Part of it I attribute to my boss's good mood, but part of it definitely has to do with my gradual evolution into an administrative ninja. I'm nowhere near the multi-tasking prowess of my co-worker who handles all the important paperwork while listening to 80s pop Pandora (...okay, we decided on that station together), but at least I can type an email AND figure out how to rewire a router.

Sweet, sweet victory.
"Well that's all great Jessica, you're sick and you're learning how to send faxes. But what about the reason you came out to LA? How's that working out for you, huh? Your big dreams? Your aspirations? Your third grade avowal to become a writer? Have you done ANYTHING to even remotely move towards that goal?"



This is becoming the ongoing issue as I blindly swing my machete through the bamboo forest of young adulthood. Am I on track? Am I getting closer to my goal? Am I not trying hard enough? Am I doing what I need to do? Am I failing?"

Though I'm not entirely certain, it feels like I'm doing all of these things. My life is pretty different from this summer, where I submitted to a million and one Craigslist writing jobs by handing them a piece of paper with "I WRITE GOOD" scribbled across the front. I figured the most logical way to become a TV writer was to start as some kind of writer. But here I am, in the TV side of things and not the writing. Which is apparently a way to do it, too.

Latest accomplishment: I've worked my way up to a polished almost-final draft of my spec script! I still want more feedback than I've received, but I'm to a point where I can say I'm happy with what I produced. Like the 20 grapes I once fit into my mouth, this is a HUGE accomplishment. This marks my first spec script, my first tv script, my first career footpath brick, and my first shot at real world failure.

Speaking of Hungry Hungry Hippo.
I'll be taking the first steps toward "submitting" (a word I hear far too much of in this industry) my work for the first time in just a few weeks... I don't really expect much to come of it, but the anticipation of going out and doing it is still exciting.

I guess that's all I have for tonight. But just so you're at least partially satisfied...

Things I am Sick and Tired Of
  • The band F.U.N.
  • Moldy grapes
  • All this hair on the kitchen floor... whose in our household is THIS hairy?!
  • Feeling obligated to include emoticons when I text
  • Food trucks blocking my vision on the freeway
  • Cleaning up after my beta fish like he's queen of the castle
  • Hearing about the Hunger Games. I legitimately do not care. (but J-Law's okay)
  • CostCo quantities of student loans
  • CostCo quantities of noodles... I will never eat this many noodles
  • Chapped lips
  • Post-Taco Bell breath
  • The recent resurgence of posting quiz results. I don't CARE what Disney landscape most resembles your aura
  • Belly fat, which is why I tried Lipozene

Friday, January 10, 2014

Everyone's A Movie/Food Critic

And so we return to the magical kingdom of Work Land, where Jobs grow on Jobbies.

Watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, in case you don't watch Always Sunny and therefore don't get the reference, or admission into heaven.
To be honest I'm pretty exhausted; not so much from work as from going out and doing other shit and then trying to go to work on top of that. The recent source of exhaustion, aside from resuming morning hikes with Casey, has been movie-binging. I can only justify it because they're cool new movies, liiiiiiike:

American Hustle

I'll say this: it was good. They did stuff right. Stuff wasn't wrong. Ultimately? Solid movie, but it's not going to be on anyone's "Top 10 ____," unless they make a list of "Top 10 Ways to See the Space Between Amy Adams' Boobs," where this movie would rank #1. The film had very strong moments but didn't resonate heavily enough to be particularly memorable. I feel like that's putting too negative a spin on it when it was actually very well done, but that's all I can chalk it up to.

Things I Learned From American Hustle
1. White collar crime is too complicated to bother looking into
2. Bradley Cooper looks GREAT with tight little Jew curls
3. Jennifer Lawrence is still doing okay, so that's good

Next on the movie-palooza itinerary was


But let's be honest, it was all about him... Joaquin Phoenix, that dreamy fuckin' weirdo. Not gonna lie, for the longest time I could've sworn he was the guy from Lars and the Real Girl, which makes sense, because "her" is essentially the same exact premise set in semi-futuristic Los Angeles. I really appreciated this movie because it's one of the few films I've seen that didn't treat futuristic technology the way the pre-Avatar era treated 3-D movies. Sure, the technology seems cool and at times implausible, but at no point does the film seem to be screaming, "HEY GUYS... GUYS! CHECK OUT THIS TECHNO-MA-ROBO-JIGGER! IT READS MINDS AND CAN COOK YOUR DINNER! THE FUTURE IS WILD!" You don't get knocked over the head with the strangeness of it so you just end up slipping into this ambiguously futuristic place where it's very natural for people to fall in love with robots.

I'll come clean, I did cry a little bit near the end. However, I spent a lot more time tying my brain into philosophical slipknots. This is a very head-y/heart-y movie, and we can all thank writer/director/secret crush Spike Jonze for that. After watching it you'll spend hours contemplating the nature of love AND the difference between humans and robots. Like, there is zero pie-throwing in this movie. Not one pie.

Things I Learned From her
1. Video games are going to be a lot like Sims in the future and I can't wait
2. Amy Adams can go without baring her non-cleavage and still be pretty and infinitely likable
3. Sex with robots. It's gonna happen.

And so, last on the movie-watching list was

Ya bish.
I started watching this movie having no idea what it was about, just that it involved old ladies which meant it would probably win an award. After watching it the whole way through, I've decided that I wouldn't hate it if this film won an academy award. I'll try not to spoil the ending, but it's what I liked about this movie. By the end you feel fulfilled, but not how you thought you were going to be fulfilled, so you feel kind of dissatisfied, too. It's a pretty emotional movie. I wasn't sold in the beginning, as I sat in bed cynically rolling my eyes and thinking, "Oh great, nuns. Next thing you know Judi Dench will show up out of nowhere with some Oscar-worthy performance."

Judi nailed it, folks. She plays a spacy old woman and it's simply delightful. Yes, this is definitely a "darling of the critics" type film, but it's well-made and will make you hate nuns.

Things I Learned from Philomena
1. The Irish weren't doing so hot for a while there
2. Even asshole journalists can come to accept Jesus into their heart
3. Being a pregnant nun is not as much fun as it sounds

That concludes my thoughts on the screeners I obtained and viewed through completely legal measures. 

To wrap things up I just wanted to brag about how awesome my Thursday was. Casey and I went to our second LA Artwalk in downtown, this time joining a Meetup group of fellow 20-ishes who just graduated and moved to LA. I'll admit I was very nervous the group would just be a bunch of party-seeking ho bags and a bunch of ho-seeking bro-bags, but everyone turned out to actually be really cool. We were a formidable group of about 12, and spent the evening walking down Spring Street and using the artwork as a convenient conversational buffer. The real bonding happened at the food trucks however, since we were all starving and craved delicious, somewhat overpriced gourmet food. I ate at Tokyo Doggie Style, which is either Japanese food for weird Americans or American food for weird Japanese people. I got the veggie dog, a.k.a. a bunch of different flavors inside a piece of bread. It was delicious, make no mistake, but if you can't even convince me that what I'm eating is pretending to be meat, then you probably shouldn't call it a veggie dog.

And that concludes the self-righteous food snob portion of today's blog.

For dessert Casey and I got beignets which were the beign-omb. We ate them all the way to The Perch, le fantastic rooftop bar where people in blazers go to contemplate how well they've done for themselves.

"Yup, Lizandro, you put your dues in and it all paid off."
There, we just-graduated-and-moved-to-LA-ites hung out, had some drinks, and basked in the smug novelty of the classy rooftop bar. We were a pretty diverse bunch. There was a crazy Swiss dude who kept ordering bottles of champagne and he was pretty cool... there was a friendly guy visiting from Jersey who could sell you a rotting cat carcass if you talked to him long enough... and a girl living not far from my work who could probably solve the world's energy crisis if we hooked cables up to her. I ubiquitously approved of everyone, and hope we get to do more Meetuppinz in the near future. 

That's right, it's gettin' pretty social up in here... look at me go!

[goes home on a Friday night to blog and eat take-out Thai food in bed]

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy Year 1! All Hail Satan!

I've determined that I'm the opposite of a bear. Why? Because I hibernate in reverse. I fall off the map for the winter, and then instead of re-emerging into the sunlight I retreat back into my cave, where I write blogs and work on my pale.

Yes, with being more or less completely off work for the latter half of December, my sense of time's been completely skewed and I've been able to finagle more exciting things to do with my Tuesday evenings. And, look at that, it's not even Tuesday today! What is going on?!

I think we all need to sit down, catch our breath, brew some tea, and have ourselves an

(as in, a recap of things that occurred on Tuesdays, not a recap that occurs on Tuesdays. I'm sure you're much less confused now.)

Tuesday, December 24th: I went home to sunny-fuckin'-San-Diego for the best 80 degree Christmas a spoiled SoCal girl could ask for, but earlier that day my dad came up to LA to see the place and spend a day off in the city. It inevitably centered largely around eating Asian food. But we also went ice skating at the rink in Pershing Square, which was fun after the initial 10 minutes of sheer terror.

I don't feel like an Olympic champion! I don't feel like an Olympic champion at all!
As an East Coast native, my dad confidently believed he was just inherently a better skater than any Angeleno on the ice. Naturally, he fell flat on his back and will probably now be Youtube famous.

Another exciting venture was going with my dad to get my Christmas-by-Jews-for-Jews present: my very own bicicleta!

It's time for some extreme on-roading.
I've taken this Jamis Durango 29 for a spin and made it from here to downtown in less than 10 minutes. No single-speed beach cruisers for me-- in my world Los Angeles is both figuratively AND literally a mountain. Luckily, it is now easier than ever for me to explore that mountain. A bike really is the best of both worlds... I get to pretend to be a car, and when there's traffic I get to pretend to be a pedestrian. It truly is the mudskipper of transportation and I love love love it.

That same day my dad and I went out for dinner, and I finally got a chance to try the restaurant above Hop Louie, an anomaly of a dive bar that looks significantly less inviting than anything else in Chinatown Central Plaza.

"That's odd, it was sunny at the gift shop next door..."
It's a strange little place, but as the website states, "Hoplouiela is a place for things to happen." What happened that night was kung pao shrimp and pretty bomb cream cheese wontons. On the other end of the vast and empty restaurant, the servers were sitting and watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" on a 90s t.v. set. It was a perfect Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 31st: December 31st... hmm... December 31st... what is special about December 31st? Oh that's right, it's New Year's Eve motha truckers! Which constantly flip-flops between being the most boring or the most exciting night of the year. This past new year's was 10 different kinds of apeshit, due in part to poorly-thought-out mixed drinks and in part to the new LA extravaganza that kicked off this year: a massive 3-D light show at LA City Hall.

Behold: THE FUTURE (future... future... future...)
What the black bar on the bottom of this photo is hiding is the thousands upon thousands of Angelenos who rang in the new year at city hall by dropping acid and staring up at this phallic building while the clock counted down. I made it there just in the nick of time with Casey, Ben, and two friends who came up from San Diego. Somehow, amidst all the crowds, drunken fights and public urination that surrounded us, we managed to stick together and watch city hall get effed up by magical 3-D projections.


as soon as the show was over, my "got connecs" friend led us straight to the heart of the beast... the top of city hall! Complete with breath-taking panoramic balcony views I got to enjoy 4 times, thanks to the quadruple vision I was experiencing the whole night.

Behold: 10 MINUTES IN THE PAST (past... past... past...)
Didn't kiss anyone this year, but that's okay, I just whored myself out on New Year's Day instead.

If I could change one thing about new year's, it would've been my shoes. I stupidly thought that I could be a strong, post-progressive feminist and wear heels, but in the end, there was way too much walking and way too many stairs for a sober person to tackle, much less... me. The next morning felt like I'd undergone Chinese foot-binding. On the whole, however, it was an absolute whirlwind of an evening, as terrific and chaotic as the 364 days before it.