Friday, June 29, 2007

Still Crazy After All These Years

Do you ever have those times when something you've loved for years suddenly seems new to you again? I had such an experience last night with the music of Paul Simon.

I stumbled across a program on PBS that was a live tribute to Paul Simon because he had been named the first ever recipient of The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. I only had time to watch about 45 minutes of it (I will finish it this weekend), but all of a sudden, the songs I have tapped my foot and sung along to for years were rediscovered. Not only that, but it got me thinking, I've loved his music for a long time now, but there is still so much of it I have never heard. They showed video of his 1976 SNL performance of "Homeward Bound" with George Harrison. Awesome. Just spot on perfect. A song and a performance that suck you in and don't let go 'til they're good and done. A pitbull of a song!

The show opened with Paul singing "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard," one of my favorites, with Stevie Wonder playing harmonica. After that, the performances, as they are for most of these tribute shows, were other great artists singing/playing Simon's songs. Man, let me tell you, Shawn Colvin, Alison Krauss, and Jerry Douglass did a rendition of "The Boxer" that I swear would give the original a run for its money. The voices of Colvin and Krauss fit like a mother and daughter's and the arrangement featuring Jerry Douglass on the (I'm gonna call it) slide guitar(?) was intimate and soulful.

I gotta break out the Paul Simon this weekend. He's a living legend!


In other news, I am listening to the Angel game online...We're not even through the second inning and the Angels have already had two runners caught in a rundown. WTF? This happens all the time. With the Angels being as aggressive on the basepaths as they've been all year (and in yrs past), you'd think they'd be a little better at it by now. You know how when you're playing a baseball video game your baserunners often seem to go when you've told them to stop and turn a solid single or double into an easy out? It's just like that.

But wait! There's more!

Not sure how I neglected to mention this before, but the dividers the showers do have are hardly dividers at all. They are made out of that hazy-but-still-pretty-much-see-through translucent shower door glass. So I am basically showering next to strange men in an "individual" stall that covers less than a hospital gown.

What kind of a world are we living in where the shower dividers in our gyms are more translucent than our coffee? I thought this was America.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Other notes about my new working environment

--I won't go into the details, but there is no way to know if the coffee was made this morning or yesterday morning. And on top of that, it's just disgusting. That's actually no different than WB. Why does no one know how to make coffee? You're not supposed to fill the filter all the way to the brim with coffee!! The coffee is supposed to be translucent! Even motor oil is translucent! This shit is thick. Note to self: bring in coffee machine from old office a.s.a.p.

--I have two windows that I can actually open! This might make everything else worth it. This might seem like no big deal, but, trust me, it's huge. Yuge. Fresh air, my friends! FRESH AIR! Not only that, but let's say the A/C is cranked up to Ice Age levels to make the cavemen feel more at home as it has been this week...just open the windows and let the warm summer air heat this mother back up! Woooo! And I can barely contain my anticipation of the first rainy day.

--There is a bathroom in my office. IN my office. I always wanted one of those, but this is not what I envisioned. Once they are hired, I will be sharing this office with two other people. So whenever one of us goes in to take care of business, the other two are going to have intimate knowledge of it. I gotta find a good dumping spot soon because I sure as shit will not be doing anything in there but the occasional quick urination.

--There is no common area in this building. It is just a long hallway with offices off it. It's weird. I am reminded of the living quarters of the ol' frat house, sans the stale stench of beer and balls.

--The Sony lot is nice. Quaint, if you will. Quiet. On my way from the parking structure to my building, I pass by the "Wheel of Fortune" stage. WHEEL OF FUCKING FORTUNE! If this were "White Men Can't Jump" and not real life, my ability to get on the lot where they shoot it would instantly get me on the show as a contestant (Rosie Perez character on "Jeopardy"). Too bad this isn't "White Men Can't Jump."


This morning marked my first day at my new gym. Cashed in my free personal trainer workout which was coo. This broad definitely kicked my ass. So all was well...until I hit the showers. I had feared community showers which would be out of the question. Luckily, there were individual shower stalls.....but with no curtains on them!!!! Did you catch that? I said..


Why would there be no curtains?! They installed the individual stalls so they obviously recognize the need for discreet nudity so why do they stop there? A stall with no curtain is not much better than no stall at all! This is an assault on my privacy! An attack on my manhood! My boys are anti-social, damnit!
I stood there just looking at it for a solid ten count. Finally, after considering the alternative of stinking at work all day, I just had to go for it. My nakedness was exposed. It was the fastest, most uncomfortable shower of my life. And this is what I have to look forward to five days a week. Thanks, Bally's.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Street Fight," y'all! "Street Fight!"

I watched an incredible documentary last night called "Street Fight."

STREET FIGHT chronicles the bare-knuckles race for Mayor of Newark, NJ between Cory Booker, a 32-year old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law School grad, and Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent and undisputed champion of New Jersey politics.

Fought in Newark's neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits Booker against an old-style political machine that uses any means necessary to crush its opponents: city workers who do not support the mayor are demoted; "disloyal" businesses are targeted by code enforcement; a campaigner is detained and accused of terrorism; and disks of voter data are burglarized in the night.

Even the filmmaker is dragged into the slugfest, and by election day, the climate becomes so heated that the Federal government is forced to send in observers to watch for cheating and violence.

The battle sheds light on important American questions about democracy, power and -- in a surprising twist -- race. Both Booker and James are African-American Democrats, but when the mayor accuses the Ivy League educated Booker of not being "really black" it forces voters to examine how we define race in this country. "We tell our children to get educated," one Newarker says, "and when they do, we call them white. What kind of a message does that send?"

STREET FIGHT tells a gripping story of the underbelly of democracy where elections are not about spin-doctors, media consultants, or photo ops. In Newark, we discover, elections are won and lost in the streets.

For me, this movie was yet another wake up call (as if there weren't enough) to the sad state of American politics where substance is mostly irrelevant in the face of style and volume, where truth is expendable, and where respect between candidates is quickly abandoned in the interest of "winning." Not only that but the issues of race brought up by the campaign are equally, if not even more, disturbing than the political elements. A Black man in the office of Mayor telling another successful Black man that he is not Black at all, that "You have to learn to be an African-American and we don't have time to train you"? That was one of the more mild indictments made, on the record, by Mayor Sharpe James.
Really bodes well, doesn't it? "Idiocracy" was another movie I saw recently and while it was not very good, after watching "Street Fight," it's central theme has never felt more true, that America is getting dumber and dumberer by the day. If you're looking for another reason to give up all hope for American politics and America's intellectual future as a whole, then "Street Fight" is the movie for you!

P.S. In the fridge here at work, they have fat-free half and half. How the hell do you make cream fat-free?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Greetings From Culver City!

Aaaaaaaand we're back!

Had my first day at the new job yesterday. I will say this: Thank God for free internet radio. If not for Yahoo Music's Coffeehouse and Jazz Classics stations, I might have committed Harry Caray. All in all though, it was a decent day. The beauty of the situation is that my lover also works here in delightfully quaint Culver City so we enjoyed a rare Monday lunch visit.

And now today. I went to start my trusty online radio and was greeted with the following message:

LAUNCHcast Is Off the Air - It's a Day of Silence
LAUNCHcast Radio and other webcasters are silent today, from
12 midnight EST to 11:59 pm EST. A recent COPYRIGHT ROYALTY decision will impose punishing fees that could shut down most online radio.
You can do something about it. Go to to find out more, and call your congressional representative before JULY 15th.

Today is only one day of silence -- but if you don't speak up, this could be the only sound we'll hear from online radio.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. We could be looking at a long day ahead. The bitch of it is, I was JUST considering a couple of CDs at Starbucks but opted to wait until I could sample them, especially since I had Yahoo to get me through the day. Little did I know I was about to get screwed.

The jury is still out on the new jobby job. It's tough to make a reasonable judgement based on the first day alone, of course. I will say that in one day I have already appreciated the difference between working out of the actual production office versus a seperate accounting building like at the old place. I walked in today and met our main makeup guy and some actors that were getting ready to audition. This was very exciting to me, to feel more exposed to the various aspects of the show rather than tucked away in a remote location where the only people I interact with are other accountants. So at least there's that. sooner had I finished typing that than one of the actors in full Geico Caveman makeup walked by my door. I hope I don't get used to that. It reminds me of the ESPN commercials where Big Papi or LeBron are casually walking around in their office environment...except it's cavemen.

Well alright, that'll do for now.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And I'm Sorry, Mr. Jones, it's time.

Well, my work is done. Signed off on my last round of reports last night around nine. It was a furious race to the finish and now I sit with nothing to do but pack up my shit. A couple of colleagues took me to Morton's for lunch which was delicious. Played my last game of wiffleball this afternoon. My last hangover Friday will be tomorrow morning. Then the "exit interview" at high noon. I have always wondered what goes on in an exit interview. What are you interviewing for? Unemployment? "Well, Mr. Kumpart, thank you for coming in today. We still have a few candidates to meet, but I think this looks like a good fit. I think you are the perfect man to not have this job. Congratulations." Well, I guess I will find out tomorrow. I just noticed I say "well" a lot to begin thoughts. Right now I am experiencing a brief moment of reflective sadness over the end of this era so I will paste in the lyrics to a slightly applicable song, "Fred Jones, Pt. 2" by Ben Folds, a personal favorite.

Fred Jones Pt 2

Fred sits alone
at his desk in the dark
there's an awkward
young shadow that waits in the hall

he has cleared all his things
and he's put them in boxes
things that remind him
that life has been good

twenty-five years
he's worked at the paper
a man's here
to take him downstairs
and "I'm sorry,
Mr. Jones, it's time"

there was no party
and there were no songs
'cause today's just a day
like the day that he started

and no one is left here
that knows his first name
yeah, and life barrels on
like a runaway train

where the passengers change
they don't change anything
you get off
someone else can get on
and "I'm sorry,
Mr. Jones, it's time"

the streetlight
it shines through the shades
casting lines on the floor
and lines on his face
he reflects on the day

Fred gets his paints out
and goes to the basement
projecting some slides
onto a plain white canvas

and traces it,
fills in the spaces
he turns off the slides
and it doesn't look right

yeah, and all of these bastards
have taken his place
he's forgotten, but not yet gone
and "I'm sorry, Mr. Jones"
and "I'm sorry, Mr. Jones"
and "I'm sorry, Mr. Jones, it's time"

Now I realize that it's a bit melodramatic to relate Mr. Jones to me, but what the hey. Fuck it....back to our regularly scheduled programming: CANNONBAAAAAAALL!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I am working like a dog this week. A dog with one "g," not two. In these final few days at Warner Bros., let this picture be the desktop wallpaper on the computer monitor of my career here. My friends, let my final word be........CANNONBAAAAAAAALL!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's back, damn it!

The eye twitch has been back for a few weeks and is still going strong. I feel like it's the type of seemingly harmless symptom that House would observe and off-handedly use to explain how I had two days live.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


--So I was tent shopping the other day for the big camping trip this weekend. Ya know what I love? I love the little tiny miniature tents they have up to serve as the floor model. Same goes for the little mini-sleeping bags.

--I finally got a job. Apparently, my date with destitution has been postponed for a couple months at least. The children will be happy to learn that I'll still be able to put food in their bowl.

--I don't feel like working today. I feel like shopping. Luckily, I have no money to throw around or I might be wandering the mall with a large pretzel in hand.

--I can confirm that the absence of urinal dividers at Angel Stadium is not a class issue. I was sitting on the carrot cake level recently and was shocked to find that their restrooms also were without dividers. Now I really just don't get it. By the way, the Angels have lost a mere 7 games at home this season (I think) and I have been present for 4 of them. I have not witnessed a win since Opening Day. What the fuck.

Monday, June 04, 2007

These Days

I am one lucky man.

After a week of increasing pressure and fear with my job/jobless situation, Nicole took me to Largo on Friday night for some much needed mental and emotional therapy. As if that weren't enough, I found myself sitting literally four feet from one of my favorite musicians and general creative heros, Jackson Browne. Just to give some point of reference to convey my love for Jackson Browne, I would put him just barely below James Taylor. And my love for JT is well known. Anyway, I knew that Jackson had played there before with Sara and Sean Watkins, the duo I was there to see on Friday. I saw him at their Christmas show, but he was just there to watch that night. So it wasn't a total shock, but it was an incredible surprise. We were lucky enough to get our old table right in front (feet next to monitors, microphone stands within arms reach). Prior to the start of the show we were casually watching some guy set up the various tuners and other misc. equipment when he put a little box thingy down that had a piece of masking tape on it with "Jackson" written on it. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but before I could even fully form a doubtful thought, there he was. Jackson Frickin' Browne was standing right in front of me! He was just doing a little soundcheck then but later in the evening he, of course, got up and played with the group. Wow. I can't think of words to aptly describe the feeling of being that close to someone whose work has meant so much to me, making direct eye contact with him as he's performing in what may as well have been my living room. I know I am being pretty mushy as it is so I will go for a practical application...If my heart and soul were a couch cushion, deflated and pressed flat by life, this moment and this night picked it up and fluffed the hell out of it. After the show, I had an opportunity to go up and meet him, but I chose not to. I couldn't think of what to say without saying too much. I couldn't just say "Hey, I'm a big fan," but I sure as shit wasn't going to be a psycho and relay my couch cushion metaphor. And so, I decided to walk away with the show itself and my experience being so close as my lasting impression. I am good with that. But if I see him there again, I might have to say something.


Went to the beach on Saturday afternoon which was really nice. I love the beach yet I've probably been two or three times in the last five years. I don't get it either.

And on Sunday, I got my back waxed. Yeah, I said it. Wooooooooo! I really should have done before and after pictures but it was too late by the time it occurred to me. Rest assured though, my friends, I am as smooth as silk! It hurt a little, but I just did my best Jack Bauer. I turned off the pain, just flipped the switch. If he can endure the Chinese, I can take a waxing. I see myself going with a wife-beater or nothing at all a lot more often this summer...just because I can. Look out, world! Heh heh heh...