Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Buzz Tweets.

So recently this Avatar movie came out. I've been waiting to see this for a very long time. But I couldn't afford to see it as soon as it opened. IMAX 3D movies are really expensive! So I had to wait. And waiting is dangerous for certain movies. There have been times in the past when I wasn't able to enjoy a movie because I had heard so many intense emotional responses to it before I got a chance to see it. For example, I couldn't see Pixar's Up until about a month into its release. In that time, I saw a thousand different tweets and status updates proclaiming how heart-wrenching it was, and how every single person who saw it had cried. Every single person. This prevented me from having a truly pure viewing experience, which is the reason I go to the movies in the first place. When I finally saw Up, I knew from a mile away what was going to happen, and I wasn't emotionally affected at all. Maybe something like that wouldn't bother some viewers. Some people like to know everything going in. But I don't like to know anything going in, period.

So when Avatar came out, I tweeted:

"I want everyone to stop tweeting about Avatar until I can see it. You're going to ruin it for me."

I knew this was an unreasonable request, made with tongue lodged firmly in cheek, but I figured it might possibly curb some of the commentary. People maybe would word their tweets more carefully. Immediately, my friend Tom posted like five tweets about how perfect Avatar was. Which he's totally entitled to do. But this was exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to avoid. Buzz that would create unreasonable expectations. So I took Tom off my follow list. And even then, I knew this would be a hassle. Because Tom's tweets are protected, so he would have to approve me when I re-followed him later on. And I knew Tom would probably give me a hard time about it. But it was either stop following him, or stop logging onto Twitter altogether. I'm sure if I was doing something that was compromising Tom's potential enjoyment of a James Cameron movie, he would want to avoid it as well.

So, like ten days later, my brother and I were finally able to see Avatar. I went ahead and sent Tom a follow request. The next day, Tom tweeted this:

"Diego unfollowed me over Avatar hyperbole. Now that he's seen it, a new follow request has arrived. Yeah. Let me get back to you on that."


Why was he taking offense to this? He knew I was just trying to avoid Avatar discussion. I think he was just enjoying the power trip, creating drama out of a non-issue. I told him he shouldn't be offended because I didn't unfollow him for any personal reasons. I also suggested he was being a baby. He said unfollowing someone over non-spoiler hyperbole was "similarly infantile (winky face)." But exactly how is that infantile? I didn't block him from seeing my tweets. I didn't do anything that affected anyone but myself.

The word "spoiler" has come to be synonymous with specific plot points, but lots of things can spoil a movie. And "non-spoiler hyperbole," or "buzz," has spoiled many a viewing experience for me in the past. So now what, he wants to punish me for having a perfectly reasonable movie viewing preference? He knows I only meant to unfollow him temporarily. He should be honored that someone would even be interested in reading his stupid tweets.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

2006 Dell Battery Recall.

In 2006, they recalled a bunch of Dell laptop batteries because they were exploding or something. They told everyone to check the little numbers on their batteries to see if they needed to be recalled. Of my two batteries, one was part of the recall. So I just stuck it in my laptop bag and used the other one. It's nice having two batteries. I used to switch them out sometimes if one ran out and I couldn't plug into a wall socket for whatever reason. But since 2006, I've just been using the one, and the other just sat in my bag. I don't know why I never sent it in to get a free non-exploding replacement. To be fair, I did forget about it soon after, and haven't necessarily been consciously aware of this situation for the past three years.

Anyway, the other night, my battery broke. I don't know how it happened. I was running on battery power and walked away from the computer. The battery ran down to zero and the computer shut itself down. That's happened before. But when I plugged it in to recharge it, the battery started giving me error codes. I think it's dead. And I can't use my other battery, because it's one of the exploding ones. So I finally ordered the replacement today. It'll be here in 20 business days. I guess the real lesson here is, if there's a worldwide recall for your laptop battery, order the replacement right away. Because your other battery might break like three years later.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alec Baldwin.

So Alec Baldwin says that he plans to retire from acting when his 30 Rock contract expires in 2012. I remember he said he was gonna quit acting a couple years ago because he wanted to devote his life to helping fight parental alienation in divorce cases. Now it seems he wants to retire because he's disappointed with his overall performance on the big screen, and has therefore lost all interest in acting.

"I consider my entire movie career a complete failure. I'll tell you why. The goal of moviemaking is to star in a film where your performance drives the film, and the film is either a soaring critical or commercial success, and I never had that," he says.

Sorry, Mr. Baldwin, but I must object, for your movie career is a remarkable one. You tangled with Beetlejuice himself. You gave life to such beloved characters as Jack Ryan and The Shadow. You fucked with Demi Moore in The Juror. You've made unforgettable cameos in movies like Notting Hill, and, to an extent of glory against which all subsequent cameos in the universe must now be measured, Glengarry Glen Ross. You created magic with Scorsese in The Aviator and The Departed. But you wanna talk about DRIVING a film, sir? You fucking REIGNED in The Edge, toe-to-toe with Sir Anthony Hopkins himself. Plus a bear. That movie soars, and it does so partly on your back.

And on the other end of the spectrum, we have The Cat in the Hat. An awful film. But you, sir, made it watchable. Which was perhaps your greatest feat of all.

Retire if you must, but do not trash a fine career in the process.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday.

Black Friday is happening right now.

Joyless families marching through Holocaust crowds. I can't believe that people will subject themselves to this torture just to save a couple of bucks. It's turned the holiday season into an ugly spectacle.

Black Friday used to just be a regular day. The day after Thanksgiving, when people realized Christmas was coming up, and we all had the day off, so everyone just went shopping. Because it was nice, and fun. Then all the crazy Black Friday deals started. People started lining up early in the morning so they could be sure to get the deals. Now I'm seeing things like people setting up gigantic tents in parking lots on the morning of Thanksgiving Eve. Staying there for 48 hours, through Thanksgiving, just so they can save a few hundred dollars on a laptop or a giant stuffed horse. I bet these people are spending more than they would have if there were no crazy deals.

I feel like shopping should be a relaxing experience. Go when it's not too crowded, pick out a few thoughtful gifts within your budget, and you're done. There are still plenty of deals outside the magical realm of Black Friday. Or you could be a part of the stampeding mob that actually took the doors off their hinges and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death last year. This is why they call them doorbusters.

I hate this aspect of the holidays. I hate fighting through swarms of pissed-off consumers while the same 50 Christmas songs play on a solid loop for five weeks.

I definitely see myself one day moving to the mountains. Coming into town once a week, for provisions. And to go to the movies.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I just saw 2012, which depicts a global disaster of apocalyptic proportions. I'm able to watch these gruesome events and enjoy them for the movie magic they are. However, the devastating kind of earthquake depicted in 2012 is a very real inevitability for the state of California, and I'm living right where it will one day hit. The fear of dying in a catastrophic earthquake that scientists are describing as "overdue" can be paralyzing. But when discussing this fear with my brother Jandro one time, he pointed something out to me.

At any given moment, a supervolcano could randomly erupt and kill everyone on the planet.

For some reason, all I have to do is think of that, and all my fears just melt away. I'll see you guys tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grinchmas Audition.

I had heard in the past about this Grinchmas event they do at Universal over the Christmas holiday. I had never gone out for it because I always thought I'd be unavailable during Christmas, plus I didn't know what it was. But doing Halloween Horror Nights for the 5th time this year, everyone was talking about auditioning, and I was gonna need a job in December, so I decided to go to the auditions, which were yesterday at the Debbie Reynolds Studio on Lankershim in the Valley.

What they were looking for was a few guys to play the Grinch, in a super elaborate costume like the one Jim Carrey wore in the Ron Howard movie, as well as several residents of Whoville, who would wear Who prosthetics, also like in the movie. During Horror Nights, I heard people say that you would need to invent your own Whoville character, I guess to show off your improv skills and creativity, because the Whoville characters would roam the park and interact with guests. I think there's also a stage show or something, which might involve some light dancing. One guy showed up to the audition in full Who costume and prosthetics, with a prop basket. He was apparently a Whoville baker. I was thinking he should pretend to be a real Who, biologically, so he could complain that this is the only job he's really suited for.

While standing in line, I saw the official sign listing the role requirements and realized I had forgotten to bring a headshot/resume, which they had said on the website we MUST do. I don't have a headshot, but I do have an acting resume with my picture on top of it... but I had no printer ink at the time, so the whole issue was moot. I texted some people to ask, "What sounds better-- I don't have a headshot, or I forgot my headshot?" One friend said "I forgot my headshot." Another friend said "I'm waiting for my new headshots." But I thought the funniest option would be to say, "I don't like to give out headshots." Again, moot, because there was no point at which anyone asked about headshots. You either had one attached to your form or you didn't.

Anyway, they gave everyone a number while we waited in line, took our picture, then brought us in and measured our height. While being measured, I told them, "My doctor says I'm ideal Who proportions." Then they led us into a small dance studio, where they collected our forms and attached our pictures to them. I overheard the form/picture people bitching that they had given the same number to two people on more than one occasion. I suggested to them that they just add a ½ to one of them.

We waited on the floor, then about 50 of us were brought into a larger dance studio, where we were lined up in a semicircle around a table of the people in charge of directing and running Grinchmas. The head guy asked everyone to step forward and say their name, and as we did, he would put our form into one of two piles. See, before we could show them our skills in dancing, reading sides, or improvising, the first round of this would be a "type out audition." Type out is when they evaluate your overall look/vibe and determine whether or not it's even worth it to audition you further.

It's tough to convey the essence of your being when just stepping forward and saying your name. I said mine in a sort of slow, deliberate fashion, and the guy looked at me for an extra second or two before putting me in one of the piles. Then, he thanked everyone for coming to the audition and read out loud the numbers of the people he wanted to stay for the next round. I was number 127. I listened as he read the numbers, counting down from 150 to 101... "129... 128... 126..." Relatively few people were asked to stay, and I wasn't one of them. But apparently I made everyone directly around me look pretty good.

I wish they had gotten to see my skills at reading sides and improvising. I would've scored high there. I could've told them about my Whoville experience... which involved attacking people as a Chainsaw Killer Klown... but it was experience nonetheless. They should just do Christmas Horror Nights. I'd have been all over that.

Halloween Horror Nights 2009: My 3 Best Scares

I've been working Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood for the past three years. In 2007, I was a Chainsaw Killer Klown at Bates Motel in the Terror Tram. In 2008, I was a Chainsaw Pigman at the entrance of the Terror Tram. And this year, I was again a Chainsaw Killer Klown at Whoville in the Terror Tram. The key thing about scares is you want to get into a very efficient rhythm so that you can scare as many people as possible. The tramful of park guests passes by pretty quick. I developed several routines that allowed me to maximize my scares. By the end of this year's event, I must've scared thousands of people. Some people really enjoy the scare, like it's a fun game. Some people are genuinely terrified. At least once a night, we see people who don't even get past Whoville and ask show control if they can be taken back to the main park area without going through the maze itself. You work really hard to get these scares (especially with a chainsaw), and a lot of them are very basic and unremarkable. But I remember three in particular from this year that I really enjoyed, just because there was something that really clicked about each one. I'm going to write about them now so that I don't forget them. Scares are really a you-had-to-be-there kinda thing, so this may not read very interesting... but if you don't like it, go write your own blog.

In countdown form:

3. I was standing in the middle of the crowd and this girl backs into me. I think she was backing away from another clown. As she turns around, she says, "Oh, I'm so sorr--" and then she screams the second she sees I am also a chainsaw clown. This scare was very rewarding, particularly because I didn't really have to do anything.

2. Sometimes, after the crowd has passed, I immediately turn off my chainsaw and watch the people bringing up the rear to see if I can sneak up on them for one last scare. I saw this one girl talking to her friends. As I approached, I heard her say, "It's just not scary anymore. It's like--" then she turned and saw me standing there. The startling effect of my presence plus the embarrassment of knowing I had heard her criticizing the scariness made for a very effective combination. One of her friends goes, "You were saying?" To which she responded, "Okay, never mind, it's scary."

1. This was another case of me observing the people bringing up the rear, and is perhaps my favorite scare of 2009. I always do my best to scare as many people as possible, but I noticed a group of people pushing a girl in a wheelchair had slipped by me. So I silently ran up next to them along the side of the fence. As I approached, I heard the girl in the wheelchair in near hysterics, saying, "I HATE clowns and I HATE ch--" She was about to say chainsaws, but when I popped out, she unleashed a terrible scream of pure horror. Like, she was on the edge, and I pushed her overboard.

I don't really take pleasure in scaring people who don't want to be scared. I watch my fellow chainsaw clowns celebrate when they terrify someone into leaving or crying, and I marvel at their cruelty. I also can't relate to anyone who takes pleasure in scaring young children. The parents may be stupid for bringing them in the first place, but that's the parents' fault; not the kids'. In the case of the wheelchair girl, I didn't hear her shrill whining until I was already mid-scare. But her reaction was just awesome. I wonder what series of events led to her attending a park full of the things she doesn't like.

We also got a lot of celebrities. Because I'm scaring through a mask, in the dark, through a thick artificial fog in the middle of a fast-paced crowd, I usually only see people as shapes, and I just read the body language off the shapes, and that's how I conduct my scares. Whenever I go on break, I'll hear people say stuff like, "Did you see Diddy? He had his kids and bodyguards with him," and I'll remember having seen a big guy in a suit, obviously a bodyguard, and not noticing Diddy, or whoever the celeb was at the time. On Halloween (our last night), I was attacking people with the saw, as usual, swinging it at them like a baseball bat, when I noticed another bodyguard. Remembering the Diddy incident, I looked up to see if this was another celebrity. And it was none other than Tyrese Gibson. So I attacked Tyrese with a chainsaw and lived to tell the tale. We'll call that one an honorable mention.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wanted 2

So last year they came out with the movie Wanted, based on Mark Millar's awesome graphic novel. The screenplay for the movie was written after the screenwriters only read like the first issue of six, so the opening of the story is kinda the same, but what follows ends up being much different. Wanted the movie was fun, but nowhere near as original or cool as the graphic novel. Anyway, Angelina Jolie was in it, and now director Timur Bekmambetov wants to bring her back for the sequel. But if you've seen the first one, you know that's gonna be a little tricky. Here he is talking to MTV about it:

"If you remember from the first film, we have a recovery room with the baths of wax," Bekmambetov told MTV News. "We know how to do this, but it's still tough to do, because the bullet is inside her head."

"But there has to be a reason for her to come back... and we know the reason," he added. "I think we found the reason for her to come back."

I love how fucking stupid this quote sounds, especially out of context.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy 16th, Jurassic Park! Rex still looks real.

Today is the 16th anniversary of the day Jurassic Park came out in theatres. I just know this off the top of my head because it's like my favorite movie. Here's some other movies that share its birthday:

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Grease 2 (1982) both turn 27 today. What a day for Spielberg! Not so much for whoever the fuck directed Grease 2.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) turns 23 today. Still the best thing Matthew Broderick's ever done. Like, with his life.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) turns 10 today. Maybe the biggest letdown I've ever experienced in a movie theatre.

And Garfield: The Movie (2004) turns 5. God, I'd make a line graph to show how I feel about these movies, but I don't think I could find a y-axis long enough.

Now, you'll notice these releases are well spaced out, because movies generally come out on Friday (Wednesday in the case of Ferris Bueller, but then, he was a truant). So you have to wait for the years when it falls on the just the right day of the week. And the next June 11th to do so will be... next year! I consider it a sacred day, if only because of Jurassic Park. So what theatrical releases will be etched into history a year from today? Currently slated for release on June 11, 2010 are:

Joe Carnahan's A-Team movie and a Karate Kid remake starring Jaden Smith.

Son of a bitch. When's the next Friday June 11th after that?

... 2021.

Maybe they'll have a Wednesday release in 2014.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Last night, I tweeted the following:

Someone just explained to me a joke from from a 15-year-old Seinfeld ep that I never realized I wasn't getting. I feel like a kid again!

A friend asked for an explanation, so here it is:

In the episode "The Chinese Woman," when Jerry and the caucasian Donna Chang keep mispronouncing things like "rines" and "ridicurous," I thought Seinfeld was simply lampooning the way people occasionally mispronounce words during conversation without acknowledging it, and I thought it was kind of odd, or possibly brilliant, that he doesn't ever follow it up with an analytical spiel within the episode, like he usually would. But it was just pointed out to me that the mispronounciations were supposed to be making light of the way Asians tend to transpose L's and R's (a habit I was of course aware of, but never connected to the "Chinese Woman" storyline). I think it's partly Seinfeld's fault, for having such an all-encompassing scope of observational humor that it never even occurred to me that that joke's most low-brow interpretation would be its intended one.

Speaking of Seinfeld, I thought it was cool that they reran "Male Unbonding (1.4)" and "The Couch (6.5)" back-to-back tonight. Two episodes separated by five seasons that have nothing to do with each other except that one introduces Kramer's make-your-own-pizza restaurant idea, and the other sees him seeing it through, five years later. I can't even say for sure that the pairing was intentional, since TBS is coupling episodes from seasons 1 and 6 all week. Incidentally, "The Couch" includes another joke that used to fly over my head as a kid, which is Kramer and Poppy's argument over when a pizza becomes a pizza paralleling the abortion debate from Elaine's storyline in the same episode.

What a show. I think Seinfeld is the best sitcom that will ever be.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In Memoriam: My Duffel Bag.

A week and a half ago, I went to a shoot at the LA City College for an NBC pilot. I was one of very many background actors playing students at a fictional community college. When I got there, I followed the crowd and found all the extras sitting at an outdoor picnic area kinda near where the craft service was. I left my duffel bag by one of the tables and went to the big courtyard to do my background acting.

Several hours later, I returned to the picnic tables and saw that my duffel bag was gone. I asked one of the PAs to help me find it, and she tried, but it was nowhere. It was later brought to my attention that the background holding area was the building NEXT to the picnic area, so no one was really watching my bag while I was on set. So it could've been stolen by pretty much anyone with the power to stroll onto the LA City College campus. Which means, anyone with legs (or a wheelchair).

I hadn't put much thought into what items were in my duffel bag that day. But eventually, I came to remember all the possessions that were taken from me by a soon-to-be-dead man (or woman). Here's what I came up with:

1. The duffel bag. This was a pretty nice duffel bag. I bought it during my 2005 LA internship, in which I'd stayed at UCLA for 6 weeks. When it was time to fly home, I didn't have enough room in my suitcase, so I bought this duffel bag at the UCLA store. I don't want to think about how much it cost, but this bag itself was probably the most expensive of the items stolen. It was awesome.

2. My Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights 2008 employee badge holder. You get this when you work at Halloween Horror Nights (in 2008). I had it wrapped around the strap of the duffel bag. It has my name on it. So whoever has the bag knows exactly who they are fucking with.

3. My new black shoes. Every time I go to a shoot, they take a look at my brightly colored sneakers and force me to change into plain black shoes from the wardrobe trailer that never fit. So I bought some nice comfortable black shoes at Target, which I've only worn a couple times since. I don't know what sucks more; having something stolen that I've had forever, or having something stolen that I JUST BOUGHT.

4. My red henley. This was just a nice long-sleeved shirt with some buttons on top. You see it in my regular shirt rotation during the colder months. Or at least you did, for a long time. NOT ANYMORE.

5. My brown long-sleeved shirt with the blue stripes. I got it at Penney's in 2007. I am seen wearing it during casting on the WSTEC webdocs. These two shirts were in the bag because the wardrobe people like for you to bring OPTIONS.

6. My pocket Sudoku puzzle book. This didn't cost very much. I bought it at Gelson's because The Onion discontinued their usual Sudoku section and I wanted to do puzzles while in line at the UCB Theatre.

7. My Bigfoot crossword puzzle book. This didn't cost very much either, but I had to SEND AWAY for it. Whoever stole my bag is going to have lots of fun while they await my guaranteed vengeance.

8. My notebook. I've been writing all kinds of shit in this notebook for the past seven months. It's really annoying to lose something like that.

You know, about a month ago, I saw these two guys pick something up off the sidewalk and toss it back down. When I got to it, I picked it up and examined it. It was a wallet, with no money in it, but filled with all kinds of credit cards and other wallet shit. I figured I would just take it into a lost and found or something, but I couldn't be sure what building this person was going to when they lost it. So I took it home and mailed it to the address in the person's driver's license. I did this when everyone else was just throwing it back on the sidewalk. You'd think that would give me some good karma. But instead, the universe saw fit to pay me back for this by stealing my duffel bag. Could it be that my karma is making me pay for some grander crimes I committed in a former life? Cuz if so, that is BULLSHIT!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bloggin' 'Bout Bloggin'.

Apparently, this is my 101st entry on this blog.

I haven't "blogged" with any kind of regularity for a while. I'm always writing. But it's not always blogs. Sometimes, it's captions for photo albums, or parts of a script, or just some other weird long-term thing I'm working on. At this moment, however, I feel bad that my blogging seems so sparse. I imagine it will be disappointing to whatever set of eyes lands here someday, looking for a more complete account of a human life.

I used to have another blog, on Livejournal. There's a link to it on the side there. It was essentially the same as this blog. I also have a couple of "themed" blogspot blogs that I rarely use, and I used to occasionally blog on MySpace. My favorite kind of blog is one like this, where I just write about whatever I feel like and there's no real theme. But all these blogs came into existence for the same reason. So I could write shit when I wasn't writing, like, fiction. I feel better when I write. My Livejournal specifically is something I started because I was depressed, and it would cheer me up to just write some bullshit. Even if it had nothing to do with what I was sad about. Well, especially if it had nothing to do with what I was sad about.

Dude, why the fuck does my furniture make noise? Every fucking night, when it's really late and very quiet, my bookshelf makes a loud clacking noise. Like it's settling or something. YOU'RE AN INANIMATE FUCKING OBJECT, SHUT THE FUCK UP. Every time this noise happens, my heart skips a beat. I hate that shit. One day, I'm just gonna have an insane futuristic room with all the shelves built into the walls. This will of course be a secret room in a big mansion. Which has its ups and downs. On one hand, if something happens to me in my secret room, rescue workers won't find me and I'll die. But if a bad guy breaks into my home while I'm in it, he won't find me either.

This blog entry took a dark turn.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Hi Superman!"

Yesterday I was walking past a school and all the kids were having recess at the outdoor basketball court. I happened to be wearing a blue shirt with the Superman logo on it, red shorts, and even Superman-colored sneakers. As I'm walking past, I hear someone yelling, "Hi Superman! Hi Superman! Hi Superman!" So I look and it's this tiny little kid pressed up against the fence, trying to get my attention. So I wave at him, and he immediately bolts in the other direction.

What I like about this is that I don't look at all like Superman, but whatever discrepancies there were in my costume and physical appearance were completely ignored by this kid, and, depending on how fanciful he was, it's possible that in his mind, on that day, he saw Superman in reality. Awesome.