Wednesday, March 26, 2014

FOUND: A Lazy Writer Who Writes About Writing

So I didn't post yesterday because I had a shitty work day and decided I'd rather up my endorphin count by hanging out with Casey after I got off. We ate raw vegan food and watched One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. When these two things make you happier than when you were at work, you know it was a rough day.

I was trying to of what to write about tonight... I kind of bounce among my safe little pool of topics:

- Being a young adult
- Living in LA
- Being a young adult in LA
- Having a job
- Having a job in entertainment
- Being a writer
- Being a writer in LA
- The Free Masons

So tonight let's talk a bit about being a writer in LA.

Any other post about this topic will probably be a gratuitous heap of depression and negativity, but I'm keeping it light tonight. Party because I don't feel like pretending to be depressed, and partly because I want to make sure I have enough time to watch an episode of "House of Cards" before bed tonight. Seriously, I just started watching... Kevin Spacey is and always will be the world's hottest guy-who's-more-than-fifteen-years-older-than-you.

Spacin' out

Tonight I'm going to kill two birds with one stone on this blog. See, as a "writer in LA" it's my job to go out and send my spec script to the batch of tv writing fellowship programs that open for submission around the spring. I've already submitted to the Nickelodeon TV Writing program, but I've been severely putting off looking up the deadlines of the others for no particular reason. Which I believe is the textbook definition of laziness.

I'll post the programs here so that you know what I'm looking to do, and I'll know what I should be doing. This is mutually beneficial for anyone else out there who is as remotely wrapped up in my life as I am. Although it is also beneficial to other writers I'm competing against... ho hum.

Here they be:

1. Nickelodeon Television Writing Program - Already submitted to. You basically get to play writer for a year at Nick Studios. They pay you to shadow your idols. I'll take that to go, garcon.

2. Disney ABC Writing Program - Submission period unknown. The submission period has never once been posted online in the 237 times I've checked over the last 9 months. I guess if they're offering to help me network with successful writers/producers, let me write on a show for a year, and pay me nearly double what I currently make, they can post the submission period whenever the hell they want. I'll be standing by creepily waiting to hand them a manila envelope containing a script and about 10 ounces of glitter.

Assuming that's the proper unit of measurement for glitter.

3. Writers on the Verge - Submission period May 1-May 30. A chance for me to compete with much more experienced/successful writers for the privilege of being able to say that you write for a living.

4. WB Writers' Workshop - Submission period May-May 31. A once-a-week writing workshop with Warner Bros. So I can still do other things technically... it's always been my dream to be a couch salesman by day and TV writer by night.

5. CBS' Writer Mentoring Program - Submission period March 1-May 31. Wait... I need a pilot episode already?!

6. Late Night Writers' Workshop - Jan 10-24, 2014. Missed it 'cause I'm a moron and didn't know it existed until doing a little research just a minute ago. I now have a full year to think about my choices.

That's it.

This post took about as long to write as a usual post... and about 1/100th as entertaining. Now THAT's conservation of energy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Would Bike Five Hundred Bars, and I Would Bike Five Hundred More

Everyone knows that bicycles are a healthy, eco-friendly mode of transportation.

What you don't know is that bicycles are actually hormonally-injected genetically mutated unicycles.

And what you also might not know is that bikes are great for bar hopping! Bike-hopping. Bar-biking. Barbecue. Barbie. Sexism. Who are you again?

This is what I did this past weekend with Casey and her roommate. Saturday afternoon Casey and I sojourned out to Pasadena to get her a new bike, since her old bike had flower stickers on the side and no working gears. I was eager to make more use of the one I got this past Channukah. So far I haven't been able to use it much, because I work 11 hours a day and on the weekends I wear a shirt that reads "LAZY FUCK" under all my clothing.

I am happy to report that during this past weekend, not only was I a productive fuck- I was a productive drunk, too! In the morning I biked around town getting groceries and running miscellaneous errands, but once night descended onto the unsuspecting bike lanes of Los Angeles, Casey, her roomie and I took to the streets like ravenous hyenas in search of booze.

On bicycles.

Okay, I know what you're thinking.


                            Wheels + Alcohol - Coordination =

But you've got the equation all wrong. It's actually

                                       Wheels + Alcohol - Fucks = 

Taking your bike on a bar excursion is actually wonderful for several reasons. You don't have to look for parking, you don't have to pay for parking (more beer!), your bike is right outside the bar where there's more than enough foot traffic to ward off thieves, and best of all, at no point are you getting behind the wheel of a car with alcohol in your system.

Now, granted that none of us were truly smashed, but bicycling after a few drinks was hardly treacherous. It was actually insanely fun and about as easy to maneuver as any other bikeventure. I admit I had reservations at first. Before the evening began I was certain that one of us would topple over and eat it. But the old mantra about bikes proved true: once you learn, you never forget. Some part of me was convinced we'd regress to five-year-olds once we had booze in our systems. But thinking about it, I don't turn five when I drink. I turn into a sarcastic and overly-emotional thirteen-year-old. And I knew how to ride a bike when I was thirteen.

We planned the evening out right. Biking meant that we had to remain relatively local, so we left Casey's apartment and rode about 20 minutes away to Silverlake. What we chose to do was ride to the furthest point and work back the way we came. The only downside to this plan was the uphill-ness coming back. Fortunately it was not steep at all, and even in my most sober state I just randomly click the gears around like a silly baboon until I find a setting that works.

So where did we go on our magical Tour d' Silverlake?

I'm glad you asked, slightly larger font.

Our first stop was the enchanting 4100 Bar.

Come wearing your finest PJs and/or belly-dancing skirt.
I imagine they had to go with the name "4100 Bar" for fear of what kind of crowd "Sexy Blanket Fort Fun Palace" would attract. But with the low warm lighting, intimate atmosphere, and abundance of tapestries draped from the ceilings and walls, this place promised a lot more intrigue and wonderment than the outside, which is a small black building with some dude grilling carne asada in the parking lot. Drinks ranged from affordable to I'm-a-paid-actor, and the bar played lots of 90s grunge... though I think that's because there was a juke box, in which case the real reason to go is for the odds of striking up a conversation with whoever payed to play five consecutive Nirvana tracks.

A few blocks up on Sunset Blvd. we reached Malo.

Not tu madre's cantina.
Malo was... mas o menos. It was a little more conventional and a lot less dive-y than 4100. It had a trendy lounge sort of feel to it, but Mexican themed. When you put the two together your end up with $12 guacamole and horchata-based mix drinks.  A "nice" bar, but coming from an English major them's fightin' words. Nonetheless I have to say: horchata with rum--?! Next house party I know exactly what two things I'm bringing and not sharing.

Our final liquor pit stop of the evening was Tiki Ti.

AKA my college dorm... both in size and in style.
It's JUST that awesome, you guys. Tiki Ti is a tiki-tiny little bar on border of Silverlake and Los Feliz. It's essentially a Polynesian-looking box filled with wondrous treasures. For starters, I mean, look at that photo. This is what we're dealing with. The whole thing is the size of my apartment, and I live inside a laundry hamper. If you can manage to get your party inside with their tight one-in-one-out entrance policy, you are in for a treat. The walls and ceiling are packed with Pacific Island decorations and knick-knacks, ranging from puffer fish light fixtures to unsettling sociopath-mermaid figurines. You'd think that's the main event, but then they hand you a drink menu. Holy humuhumunukunukuapua'a. It's a list of about 75 different mix drinks with crazy titles and zero descriptions. You have the choice of either asking the bartender or chancing it. Ultimately, no matter which drink I asked about, the little fruity-sugar alcoholic in my head tugged on my earlobe and shrieked, "That one! We're doing that one!" I ended up getting a Chief Lamu Lamu and a Space Pilot, both of which were ten layers of delicious. Be forewarned that Tiki Ti's drinks run in the $9-$20 range apiece, but for a special night out (or a night of generally low inhibitions) this is a place that you have to visit. It's also supposedly one of the oldest bars in LA, so if you need "historical significance" to justify it then be my guest.

After leaving Tiki Ti we made our way home in about 10-15 minutes, where we ate grilled cheese sandwiches with the utmost orderly conduct and self-restraint.


Final verdict: will I bicycle bar hop again? Ab-cycle-utely!

...a bit of a stretch on that one.

Yes, I fully intend to. As long as I'm able to avoid a BUI, which are as real as they are admittedly hilarious.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


So after a grand total of 3 days of shitty weather we're back to pretending like Winter never happened. All right, California.

Tonight I'd like to discuss ever so briefly (because I just spent the past two hours teaching a high schooler how to lie about her aspirations and I am BEAT) my triple-dip weekend.

That's right, I chewed tobacco with people of three different nationalities.

...But I also spent the weekend in three different counties: Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego. I visited one of my very closest friends who recently moved to Huntington Beach in Orange County, spent one crazy birthday night in San Diego's downtown Gaslamp district, and bought groceries and went to the bank in Los Angeles.

Firstly, just to get the educational portion of this blog out of the way, please refer to the following map which labels some (but for whatever reason not all) Southern California counties:

San Bernadino accurately depicted as a large space containing absolutely nothing.
Los Angeles: Where I live
San Diego: Where I'm from
Orange: Disneyland

With my move to LA and subsequent awareness of my immediate surroundings, I found this to be an insightful opportunity to look at the nature of these three places. Now, this post deserves a lot more time and cocaine than I'm giving it, but I at least wanted to touch on some of the differences I noticed within the great, beautiful county-centipede we call the South Coast.

I choose to do so in the form of a stream of conscious adjectives. Like a regular Virginia Woolf.

SPOILER ALERT: She's actually a snail.


Orange County

I managed to crop out the CVS's in the four corners of this photo.

I visited my friend's apartment, the beach, a Wahoo's, and found parking at all three places. Orange County is just really good at taking a load off my mind. With the exception of a few boug-y patches it is considerably tamer than the two metropolises Eiffel Towering either side of it, and I appreciate that calm. Visiting Huntington Beach certainly made me blow a kiss to Oceanside... the overall hassle-ness of LA beaches like Santa Monica and Malibu has made me incredibly cynical about beaches that aren't ones I grew up around. So, for the Angeleno willing to trade in the LA designer tag for something more comfortable and affordable, there is Orange County.

San Diego

Complimentary sailboats for all hotel patrons.


As someone raised in San Diego I have a much better idea of the nuances that go with each city within the county, so I'm reflecting on just the downtown area. Growing up, I never visited the Gaslamp much for several reasons (poor, underage, reclusive, scared of one-way streets), but coming back after living on the crispy edge of DTLA, it's interesting to see San Diego's take on "urban cityscape." The first thing I noticed was that it is very polished and well-kempt. Now, living in LA I've been trained to be filled with dread and anxiety in these sorts of areas. There will be lots of traffic, no parking, overpriced parking, and lots of bars and restaurants I can't afford but will be forced to eat/drink at and pretend I have the disposable income to do so just so I can save face in front of people who are all just as poor. San Diego is maybe 25% of that, tops. DTSD has a lot of things nailed; namely the look, the busy-but-not-gonna-be-an-ass-hole-about-it vibe, and the bang for your buck. I was not at all stressed driving or being in downtown, and I could even sort of afford the places we hit up. It was swell. The one thing I will say is that DTSD is a total baby compared to DTLA. LA is fierce. San Diego is small and virginal. I don't know if San Diegans not from LA are aware of that. To reference the highly relevant and topical show Rugrats, DTSD is Chuckie and DTLA is Angelica. Except in this scenario Chuckie is a hot surfer.

And Orange County is Tommy. Or else Dill.

And finally...

Los Angeles

Celestial sunset or fire and brimstone?

My tri-polar assessment of LA is obviously indicative of the reality of the place. LA is just a fuckin' mish-mash. It's the world's most expensive and desirable Hometown Buffet. In as much a literal as a poetically profound sense, LA has everything; you just have to be willing to put up with a lot of shit to get it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

There's an Alumnus Among Us

As this past weekend was the final week of pledging for the society (co-ed un-douchey less-rapey fraternity) I joined at Whittier, I realized it was a particularly school-heavy week for me. I was elected this semester as one of our society's "alumni advisors," aka society members who take up the noble duty of coming to campus every now and then with advice in the form of cheap 30-racks. I'm a newbie so I got a 12-rack... but hey, I could've done much worse than Tecate.

We use the term "much" very loosely around here.

Anyhow, the end of pledging is a special time. Alumni get an excuse to get together with the active members and drink and hang out and mainly bond over the fact that we're not as miserable as the pledges. It's tons of fun. Even more fun than drinking Tang.

But it's a very strange experience to become an alumni. This is my first time "on the other side," and I gotta say, it's not so much a side as a different plane in the time-space continuum.

Save this picture on your computer so you can appreciate the clever file name I gave it.
Like, remember when you were an awkward kind of chubby 16 year old who wore lime green cheetah leggings everyday and you had a crush on a 20 year old and you were all like, "Hey man, I don't see what the big deal is! Age doesn't matter!" And then as time passed you eventually blossomed into an awkward kind of chubby 20 year old and you were like, "Wow, if I were dating a 16 year old now I wouldn't even want me living in my neighborhood. This is supposed to be a safe community!"

Well, going back to college and doing college-y things sort of feels like that. I didn't experience it too badly because I'm fresh-faced enough that my presence on campus is still relevant. Also, this event is made to be alumni-friendly. But in a year or two my college friends will graduate and be replaced by a crop of kids who give as few shits about me as I did about alumni when I was in school, and hanging around will almost certainly guarantee that I grow a skeevy mullet and handlebar mustache. Trying to keep myself wedged in that community feels... weird.

Now, I remember as a college student that I didn't think much of older alumni coming around... only the exceptionally weird ones who were more reckless than half of my currently-enrolled friends. And the 40-something dude with the belly button piercing. It didn't really strike me as odd that I was in the presence of, say, a 27-year-old who had graduated five years prior. But you spend a few months out of school and all of a sudden the difference is like apples and tax consultants. I think the biggest difference is priorities... I mean shit, I haven't had to write a thesis in nearly 6 months.


People were so stressed out about writing papers, and making it to dinner on time, and hitting the best house parties, and getting up early for intramural water polo practice... all of a sudden I was so hyper-aware of the fact that I hadn't thought about any of these things once since May. And on the flipsies, if I attempted to talk about my work or my current what-doings with college people what I usually got in response was either blank stares or polite nods. After all, why should they care? Not even other regular faux-grown-ups are really interested, so why should college students? They still have active social lives and excuses to own feather boas.

The key to every and all theme parties.
In all honesty, I'm probably being a little over-dramatic about this ordeal. I didn't feel extremely uncomfortable, just a little nagged by the feeling. 90% of the time was spent hanging out with other alumni anyway. Kudos to the currently enrolly-pollies who were the exception to this rule; you make coming around worth my emotional investment.

I think I'm bracing myself for the much harsher reality I'll have to face a couple years down the line when college is in no way home. I got a little sample spoon of the feeling this year, but I've still got a whole grip of amazing friends in the one-to-three-years-younger than me range to still make me feel loved and welcomed and accepted. You know what that means- I've got one-to-three years to set up my little social network throughout LA county. So far I'm off to a roaring start with an email from a crazy old vegan dude named Star.

And people diss Craigslist for being sketchy.

He wants to go hiking sometime.