Thursday, March 30, 2006

Car accident

Didn't I just say yesterday that people cannot drive in LA? Clearly some can't even open car doors. I was driving to my lunch meeting and this guy opened his door as I was driving by him. Now he can't close his door and my passenger side is jacked up. Great.

He said he didn't see me. Maybe I'm crazy but before I open my car door, I look in my rear-view and side view mirrors. How could he not see me? We were in the middle of the block. It's not like I was coming out of a driveway or something.

Ugh!! Just what I needed. My insurance company is sending someone to look at the car in the next two days. I wonder how much this is going to cost. The exec I was having lunch with thought I was handling it well. I can't get upset. It's just one more stupid thing to deal with. I told him maybe it's a sign from God that I need to move back to a city where I don't need a car.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This weather sucks, Italian level one, finito

I was looking at Tracie B's photos on her blog today (her's is "my life italian". The link is listed on the right) and wished I was there eating some gelato outside. Instead, here it's pouring (again!), cold and no one can freaking drive. LA drivers are horrible. No signalling, always on the cellphone, rude, and drive slow as hell. Add some rain and people loose their minds. People cannot deal with the elements here. God help them if they had to take the subway or walk to work.

I learned to drive in high school in Jersey. Jersey drivers are crazy but in a good way. Fast. It's a place where you better pay attention and keep up with the speed limit. The exception being Cedar Grove where you might want to drive a little slower. The three cops they have in that town are relentless with the tickets. Don't let them catch you spending on Pompton Ave.

Yesterday was our last class for Italian Intermediate level 1. I start level 2 in 2 weeks. It's weird trying to learn a language as an adult and using another part of your brain. Yes the all the homework can be a bit much but learning a new skill at this age is a good thing. Maybe my brain won't go to mush. I swear I was losing brain cells out here.

A development exec asked me a couple years ago during the 2000 election, who Gore was and which party did he belonged to. To me this says you never read a newspaper or watch the news. How does a educated person working in the 2nd largest city in the country not know who the Vice President of the United States is? A writer said he went to pitch a project at Fox. He made a reference to Vincente Fox, who was just elected President of Mexico. The movie studio executive had no idea who he was talking about. We share a border with Mexico, it's not that far from here. This is a person who helps decide what movies we see here and internationally. Scary.

Speaking of movies, so glad Inside Man did well. Maybe the studios will remember they can make movies that are commerical and smart. Enough already with the remakes.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

An Italian dinner

Last night one of my friends from class had us over for dinner and a movie. The four of us (well really three of us, one of my friends speaks very well) ended up speaking a combo of Italian and English. We saw the movie The Nanny. A little slow but interesting.

The food was so good. Fe is an amazing cook. Robin brought wine from Italy and Jane brought limoncello from Sorrento. Jane is leaving for Florence in a couple of weeks.

Why is it so hard to find dresses that fit? Yesterday I looked everywhere for a wrap dress that doesn't show everything on top. Tried DVF's. Great cut but no dice on top and to wear a camisole underneath would look awful. Maybe I should try petites and go up a size.

Thanks to my hairdresser being over a half-hour late the other day, I was able to get a chunk of reading done. Now I don't have to stress out today. I will read more this afternoon. First I must see Inside Man. Denzel and Clive in the same movie? It might be too much to handle but I must be strong.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Finally Spring is here, birthday wishes

This has been the coldest March in SoCal since 1922. I have clearly become "soft" since moving out west. How the hell did I survive winters in college? My first sememter freshman year at Syracuse, I couldn't believe all the "lake effect" snow. After a while I got used to it. Now when it's 55 degrees I'm freezing.

Yesterday it was 75 degrees, a perfect day. At night you could smell the jasmine. I think I will go on a hike tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow is my sister's birthday, my brother's was on Monday, Dad's on Wednesday. Happy Birthday! I spoke to my parents who were going out to dinner at Lee's on the Dutch side to celebrate. I didn't get to go during Christmas but I hear the lobster there is amazing.

March and August were very fun months in our household. My Mom's birthday and anniversary are during the first week of August and my birthday is later in the month. I miss my family.

Okay off to get my haircut. I hope my stylist will be on time. Is that too much to ask? Why is she always late then blames it on traffic? She is a New Yorker but has been living here for a couple of years. She knows traffic here is bananas, plan accordingly. I'm bringing two scripts to read just in case. At least I can get some work done while I wait.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Is the "smoothie" era ovah?

My friends know I am not a fan of the smoothie look. It's when men wax all their body hair off. Unless you are on the Men's Olympic swim team, there is no reason for this crime against nature. I'm all for taming a uni-brow but that no-hair-on-chest thing? Enough.

Maybe today's NYTs is making too much of it but I'm very excited about the news. Although most women do not like beards believe me, most of us are glad to see the return of a less artificial look. Of course this has not impacted Los Angeles yet, the home of the metrosexual.

From today's NYTs style section:

"This is some sort of reaction to men who look scrubbed, shaved, plucked and waxed," said the designer Bryan Bradley, who stepped onto the runway after his Tuleh presentation looking like a renegade from the John Bartlett show, at which more than half the models wore beards: untidy ones that scaled a spectrum from wiry to ratty to shabby to fully bushy.

"It's less 'little boy,' " Mr. Bradley said. "For a while men have looked too much like Boy Scouts going off to day camp."

On city streets, too, trends in scruff have reached new levels of unruliness, a backlash, some beard enthusiasts say, against the heightened grooming expectations that were unleashed with the rise of metrosexuality as a cultural trend. Men both straight and gay, it appears, want to feel rough and manly.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tom Terrific trapped in the closet?

What happened to freedom of speech? If he can call Matt Lauer glib why can't South Park, which makes fun of everyone, air "Trapped in the Closet"? Maybe Tom didn't know the title of the episode refers to the famous, over the top series of songs/videos from R. Kelly.


Sources from inside Paramount and South Park Studios report that parent company Viacom pulled last night's scheduled repeat of the high-rated "Trapped in the Closet" episode after the humorless Scientologist movie star Tom Cruise threatened to cancel all publicity for Mission Impossible:3 if Comedy Central aired the episode that satirizes Scientology and mocks his sexuality again.

Not only is this the first time that the South Park creators have been officially censored in their ten hit seasons with Comedy Central, Viacom officials also reportedly ordered Matt Stone and Trey Parker not to discuss the reason why their episode was cancelled.

The South Park boys are said to be angry, but will probably get revenge with the manner in which they deal with Scientologist Isaac Hayes' departure from the show.

Monday, March 20, 2006

New Attitude, Sopranos (spoilers)

In keeping with my plan to be more positive about this wack ass city, I actually went out this weekend. Usually I spend Friday and Saturday nights reading scripts, watching movies or talking on phone with my friends about how much we hate Los Angeles. This is not good.

I'm sure my friends back east are tired of me complaining, I'm tired of complaining. The "industry" is based here so until I can produce films elsewhere or inherit a bunch of money, I am going to make the best of it. I got a new attitude...well, at least for this week.

Friday went to the Belmont for happy hour with one of my friends. Saturday night drove downtown (in the rain!!) to see my friend's new apartment. She bought the loft months ago and finally moved in. It's stunning. I felt like I was in Williamsburg or Soho, before the chain stores showed up.

I need to spend more time downtown at night. It's a totally different crowd then the Koi/Hollywood type scene. Sometimes I go to the flower mart on Saturday mornings and I have been to MOCA (kept comparing it to MOMA  which is not fair) but other than jury duty that's about it.

There are a ton of loft conversions going on but very few services, like grocery stores, dry cleaners etc. It's starting to change with new restaurants, galleries, and stores. We drove to a great Japanese place, then pick up another friend and went to a very fun bar. I noticed while we were driving, we would drive past some amazing buiding. Then around the corner was skid row/tent city. There is a major homeless problem downtown. I have never seen anything like it and after college I lived in some pretty sketchy neighborhoods in DC. The non-profit I volunteer for works with the Downtown Women's Center. Most of the women have children and are fleeing abusive relationships. The stories are just heartbreaking.

Sopranos (spoiler alert!)
Last night I choked up when Carm was talking to Tony. I remember when she told Tony (I think it might have been the first episode), he was going to hell while he was getting a MRI. Six years later she still felt guilty and apologized. Not sure what is going to happen to Tony. I think he will live but clearly there is going to be a power struggle. It won't be pretty.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Where's Andre?

Yesterday met a talent manager for lunch at the Fred Segal in West Hollywood.
Were we excited about all the celeb sightings, including a very intense Mickey Rourke? No, we were excited to see Andre from "Project Runway".

SU got smacked last night, a big upset. Now I will have to watch the rest of March Madness with a heavy heart.

So glad it's Friday. I'm exhausted.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Yet another Jen cover, is she going to be on the cover of Essence next?

Walked by the newstand near the office. Can't wait to get my Elle Decor and Domino magazines. Then I saw something that put a damper on my happy magazine moment.

Jen Aniston is on the cover of Vogue. The headline says "Don't feel sorry for me". She has no control over the tabloids but the mainstream magazines? Enough already.

I'm annoyed I have to see her overexposed mug in my mailbox. Ms. Wintour, I am very disappointed. Please Jen, go volunteer, take a vacation or something. We need a break.

However, I was excited to receive my Jan/Feb issue of Italian Elle Decor in the mail. It takes forever to get here but it's worth it. Plus there are no articles about Jen, Britney, or Paris.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Sopranos, che cazzo! (spoiler)...go Syracuse, passato remoto

What the heck was Uncle Jun mumbling about before he pulled the trigger?

Syracuse what an upset. Way to go Big East champs! Not sure how we will do during March Madness but my fingers are crossed.

This morning's class focused on yet another verb tense, passato remoto. It's used mostly in literature, when discussing historical events and sometimes in the South. Of course there are a ton of irregular verbs. I just got a handle on when to use passato prossimo, passato imperfetto or trapassato. ugh.

I am going to refrain from commenting on last night's "Flavor of Love" finale.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Some random thoughts

Why is that girl from Laguna Beach on the cover of US? Why does she have her own show?

I love the Mary J. Blige single. Should I get the CD?

Why is Italian grammar "molto difficile"? I think there are over 20 verb tenses. I know 8. I am so frustrated by the grammar, I'm forgetting basic things. In class the other day, I was reading an article outloud and forgot how to say the number 15. I felt "molto stupido".

Why is a 46 year old man walking around wearing a big ass clock around his neck that doesn't run? I'm not mad at Miss New York's mom, I wondered the same thing my damn self.

This "Laffy Taffy" payola scandal is beyond deep. At least that explains why this horrific song got on the air.

Not sure about the interpetive dance number during the "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" Oscar performance. I guess it was better than Rob Lowe singing to Snow White. Maybe not.

Will I ever go out on a date again? Am I destined to live the rest of my life without romance or passion? This is an outrage. I am going to be proactive "ala Miranda" and say I'm on strike until conditions improve. This way the celibacy thing is not somthing that is just happening to me. I refuse to be a passive victim. Therefore, as of today I am taking control of my pathetic situation dammit!!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Oscar Sunday '06, aka "Quality is now a genre"

Finally awards season is wrapping up. I was invited to a viewing party but will be watching in my PJs.

I did go to a "very fab" pre-oscar party last night. It was so fab, this junior production company exec told me they weren't let her in because she had on jeans. She was confused by the door policy. "It's LA!" The invite did said award wearing attire, so people did get a little more dressed up than usual. It was a mix of movie and music people.

I was so excited that I could actually walk to the party, very un-LA. The place was packed, I ran into some people I haven't seen in a while and hung out with some friends. Women were all over Terrence Howard and Mike Ealy "girrrrrl he has some pretty eyes". My friend said hi to Terrence but when I saw him he was surrounded. I spoke with Mike and his manager for a while. Anthony Mackie? Hello! I did not know.

The DJ was great, however my sling-back heels were so high (for me) I was trying to limit my movement. Not that many people were dancing until later in the evening. When DJ said " All you over 30s will know this one", and put on DeBarge, the crowd went crazy. Then he went into Biggie. He did not play the Ashanti song that the younger people on the dance floor think sampled Biggie. No young ones, it's a DeBarge sample.

This guy from NYC was flirting with my friend and it warmed my heart. He wasn't flirting for/because of work, he did not ask her "what do you do". I left them to do their thing, made a last loop around to say goodbye to friends then hobbled home.

Many people are freaking out about the potential low ratings for the Oscars, since all the movies are "small". Whatever. The Oscars are supposed to be about honoring excellence (or at least very good) in film not worrying about ratings or only picking films with the biggest box office. It's the studio's own fault. They used to make some movies that were great and commerical. Now the "independent" wings make those films, for a price. Ms. Dargis summed it up well today. Below are a couple paragraphs:

These days big studio movies do not, as a rule, excite the intellect or stir the soul: that's what specialty titles like "Brokeback Mountain" are for. In the last few decades, the American movie industry has become increasingly split between high-concept spectacles engineered to attract as many viewers as possible (think flypaper) and niche products pitched to specific audiences. In this climate, films released through a studio specialty unit, like "Capote" and "Good Night, and Good Luck," are just one niche among many, like horror or teen flicks. Their principal value doesn't come from ticket sales, but from the prestige and awards they confer on a parent company. In Hollywood, as a friend recently quipped, "Quality is now a genre."

The corporate independent, meaning brands like Fox Searchlight Pictures and Focus Features, may be as oxymoronic a term as high concept, but as this year's Oscars prove it's an oxymoron that has reaped important dividends for Hollywood. The absorption of independent companies into the system and the creation of specialty divisions furnished the industry with a much-needed infusion of new talent, from influential filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh to ubiquitous executives like Harvey Weinstein. Without corporate independents like Warner Independent Pictures, a specialty arm of Warner Brothers Entertainment, George Clooney might be home tonight instead of smiling for the camera on behalf of "Good Night, and Good Luck," for which he has been nominated for best director, and "Syriana," for which he received a nomination for best supporting actor. As the star of films like "Ocean's 12," Mr. Clooney makes money for Warner Brothers Entertainment; as a corporate independent player, he gives it class.

Mr. Clooney's dual capacity reflects Hollywood's tradition of giving us the same thing while making it seem somehow different. At the same time, he is part of a system that now reserves most of its smartest, most high-minded and ostensibly serious properties for its specialty divisions, the implication being that most moviegoers are not interested in smart, high-minded, serious films. Maybe they aren't. Or maybe they no longer have faith in the movies: witness Hollywood's recent inability to sell low-end garbage like "Stealth" or high-end kitsch like "Memoirs of a Geisha." Even the chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Michael Lynton, whose company released both titles, admits moviegoers aren't as stupid as the studios seem to think: "Audiences have gotten smart to the marketing, they can smell the good ones from the bad ones at a distance."

The crisis now facing Hollywood isn't unique to the movies; the atomization of the culture makes it hard to know what people want, particularly when they belong to a multi-everything society like ours. Still, something will be lost if Hollywood continues to downsize its ambitions and fails to make movies that connect with the mass audience, to make movies that speak to us as a unified whole rather than as a mass of self-interested egos, that give us a sense of collective identity and social cohesion. A nation of iPod-people, each staring at his or her individually downloaded film on the delivery system of his or her choice, seems a poor substitute for the oceanic feeling that comes with watching a film with a crowd, finding communion in the dark.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It's March 1st!!!

Thank God! I have never been so happy to say goodbye to a month before. The last couple of weeks were not good. The only thing I have to show for a month of the "blahs" is a nice scar from burning myself with a clothing iron. Add this scar to the one from last year, when I sliced open my hand after falling on broken glass. What the fuck is wrong with me?

Allora, (oh no, I'm starting to become one of those annoying people who use non English words when speaking English), it's a new month. I am going to lose the weight I regained and get it together. I pretty much ate non-stop last month. Were it not for going to the gym I would look like a freaking Weeble.