Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Farther On" by Jackson Browne

If you want to actually hear the song, it's #46 on the music player on the right sidebar. If you click on a track number and drag your mouse down, you are able to scroll down.

Farther On

In my early years I hid my tears
And passed my days alone
Adrift on an ocean of loneliness
My dreams like nets were thrown
To catch the love that I'd heard of
In books and films and songs
Now there's a world of illusion and fantasy
In the place where the real world belongs

Still I look for the beauty in songs
To fill my head and lead me on
Though my dreams have come up torn and empty
As many times as love has come and gone

To those gentle ones my memory runs
To the laughter we shared at the meals
I filled their kitchens and living rooms
With my schemes and my broken wheels
It was never clear how far or near
The gates to my citadel lay
They were cutting from stone some dreams of their own
But they listened to mine anyway

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say
It could be I've lost my way
Though I keep a watch over the distance
Heaven's no closer than it was yesterday

And the angels are older
They know not to wait up for the sun
They look over my shoulder
At the maps and the drawings of the journey I've begun

Now the distance leads me farther on
Though the reasons I once had are gone
I keep thinking I'll find what I'm looking for
In the sand beneath the dawn

But the angels are older
They can see that the sun's setting fast
They look over my shoulder
At the vision of paradise contained in the light of the past
And they lay down behind me
To sleep beside the road till the morning has come
Where they know they will find me
With my maps and my faith in the distance
Moving farther on

Sweet Sounds of Spring

Right now in Tempe, Arizona, the Angels are 3 innings into their first game of the 2009 Spring Training season. If it were any other year, the fellas and I would be enjoying this game from the bleachers right now, with a dog in one hand, a cold, tall beer in the other, the warm dessert sun shining on us. It's not to be this year, unfortunately, but thanks to the wonders of technology, I can still listen to the game from my windowless position here in El Segundo. God, it's great to even hear a baseball game played again. It's great to hear the familiar voices of Angel broadcasters Terry Smith, Rory Marcus, and Jose Mota. As much as I love following the game and hearing the guys again, I think my favorite part is between innings, when the broadcast is simply the peaceful hum of the crowd, the echo of the PA system, and the pop of the ball in the mitt as the next pitcher warms up. Ha! Right now, I can hear Bobby Darin's "Dreamlover" and a vendor selling beer. If I close my eyes, I am there.

Welcome back, baseball.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Status Update!!!!!!

John is...aggravated by his chapped lips.

John is...putting on Chapstick.

John work.

John is...wearing a hat.

John is...heading to the water cooler.

John is...happy to have cold Arrowhead.

John is...pausing to contemplate.

John is...back at the helm!

John is...needing a nice clean shave.

John is...tying his shoes.

John to the bathroom!

John is...back.

John is...a paintball sniper.

John is...a Facebook hater.

Dear Friends,

I lost my phone over the weekend so if you call or text me in the next few days with no reply from me, please know you are not being shunned.

UPDATE: Back on line! Let those calls come flooding in! Okay, any minute now....Still waiting...Got the old phone up and running again. Looks like I'll be using this for a while since I am not eligible for an upgrade until May 2010. Nothing like a little technological devolution.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Roscoe Party

So the big Academy Awards show is this weekend, but if the Best Song category is any indication, Oscar is far from perfect and often gets it horribly wrong. With one week to spare, I have seen all the films nominated for the major awards this year so I feel comfortable putting out my own Best of 2008 list. The only ones I missed that I think might have a legitimate shot to take home a statue were "Synechdoche, New York" and "Doubt." Sorry, guys. So without further adieu, I present to you The Roscoes.

Winners in Bold Italic.

Best Picture:

The Dark Knight
Vicky Christina Barcelona
Rachel Getting Married
The Wrestler

Best Director:

Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight
Jonathan Demme - Rachel Getting Married
Gus Van Sant - Milk
Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon
Darren Aronofsky - The Wrestler
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actor:

Sean Penn - Milk
Leonardo DiCaprio - Revolutionary Road
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon

Best Actress:

Kate Winslet - The Reader
Kate Winslet - Revolutionary Road
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Meryl Streep* - Doubt

Best Song:

Bruce Springsteen - The Wrestler**

*I'll give her the nomination based on reputation alone

**The only one worth mentioning so why tarnish it with fellow nominees

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Music of the.....(Yawn).....Night.

I learned an important lesson last night..."Phantom of the Opera" is not for me. Only one other time (unfortunately it was previous to this so it made for two in a row) have I experienced anger at a theatrical experience. This show put me in a miserable mood although it was not entirely the fault of the show itself. I was locked in for the first 25 minutes or so. Then the coughing started. It came at a constant clip of about 28 coughs per minute, one cough at a time from every nook and cranny of the auditorium. I thought we were under a biological attack. Needless to say, this was rather distracting. As for the actual show, the music, to me, was utterly unmoving. The show-within-the-show sections were pointless and ran way too long. Also, and I guess this is just a function of the genre, I can't stand when every word the characters utter is done so in "song," especially when this so-called music is a bunch of disconnected, seemingly random notes that have no discernible melody or direction. If this is what opera is, I guess I'm just anti-opera. I hope not though. I always thought I would enjoy opera. We did have a really good time though, up until the show started.

Got a real nice-looking weekend ahead. Tonight or tomorrow, I will be entering the bottling phase of the debut batch of my home brew experiment, or as we in the business call it, secondary fermentation. :-) Saturday morning, we head up to Big Bear where eight (or so) of us will cram into a cabin with food, booze, and board games under the threat of a massive snowstorm. We've got a Corrolla with chains. Should be fun. Sunday, we return home with an 80% chance of heavy showers waiting for us when we get there. The old man is going to be making an unprecedented February batch of his famous winter stew and he's going to teach me the trade as he does it. I tried to make it once before back around Christmas and, while it was decent, it paled in comparison. Now I will learn from the master. That should be an all-day affair with a good rainy-day movie (something epic) squeezed in between. I think I might just break out the apple whiskey too.

And on Monday, we embark on that most enjoyable-yet-still-somewhat-queer of wedding traditions, we register. I say queer because, although I completely understand why it's necessary, it's an awkward thing to create such a list, complete with quantities desired and prices. But hey, you only do this thing once*, right?

*(God willing)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It occurred to me last night...

That new RNC Chairman Michael Steele looks like an unused Fletch alias.

Monday, February 09, 2009

If I didn't have to be at work today....

I would go for a nice long drive. I implented my own personal stimulus package into the local music retail economy this weekend, making visits to Amoeba AND Fingerprints in Long Beach. So I am sitting on a lot of new music. Couple that with another great day of rain, and you have the perfect recipe for a long drive up (or down) the coast. Stops may include any interesting beach town boutiques that might pop up, a fogged-window diner for some clam chowder, any vista points, and perhaps a rustic tavern for a comforting pint. I think I could go all the way to San Francisco. At least to Carmel.

But processing invoices in El Segundo is cool too.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Tagged By Val

Ah what the hell...

Six names I go by
  1. John
  2. The King
  3. Mr. Compart (Cruiser's Dad)
  4. Yohn (Cruiser's Mom)
  5. Grover (My Mom)

Three Things I Am Wearing Right Now

  1. Navy blue school tie
  2. Newsie hat
  3. Green Saucony sneakers

Two Things I Want Very Badly At the Moment

  1. A beer
  2. Floor tickets to Springsteen

Three Favorite Things I Did Last Night

  1. Watched the Lakers...
  2. ...with two kittens on my lap
  3. Had a glass of red wine

Four Things I Ate Today

  1. Protein Shake
  2. Pastrami sandwich
  3. Widmer Drop Top Amber
  4. Protein bar

Two People I Last Talked To On the Phone

  1. The Vet (Looks like just some connective tissue, we'll continue to monitor the situation)
  2. The Doug (He's out for Springsteen)

Six Things I Plan To Do Tomorrow

  1. Get floor tickets to Springsteen ("If you will it, it is no dream")
  2. Go see a travel agent about the honeymoon
  3. Get a new hard drive
  4. Go to Amoeba Records
  5. See a movie (the Arclight is right there, it'd be a crime not to)
  6. Relish the rain

Five Things I Am Grateful For Today

  1. Not to be redundant but...the rain
  2. The Friday Playlist! (Currently playing: Karma Chameleon)
  3. That the vet said it's just connective tissue and not likely a sarcoma
  4. That it's now six and I get to go home (sorry, this is like the most important section but I feel the weekend beckoning)
  5. The fact that I have a job
  6. The blogger help forum

Wow, I did that really boringly. Ah well, cheers!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

You Can't Go Home Again -- Hallmark Edition

I was down in Long Beach over the weekend, visiting the fam, dining with The Cruiser, and selecting that most important of marital symbols, the wedding band. As we were driving all around town, I was giving Nicole the guided tour she could never have hoped for. There's the place I took my car when I had a nail in my tire...This used to be a Woolworth's...I had a BLT there once...You get the idea.

At one point she asked if there was a Hallmark nearby as she needed some cards. I was more than happy to oblige that there was not just a Hallmark, there was the Hallmark. I'm talking about Dick's Hallmark #5 on Spring Street, my friends. The place I spent several of my spare high school era hours as a proud member of the Dick's team. As we were on our way there, I started to reflect on the good ol' days at Dick's. I laughed about how funny Kay and Bev were, how nice Katheryn was, how we once caught the biggest cockroach of all-time in the back room and put it on display (in the back, of course). I remembered the many boring Sundays spent there working with Becky and the ridiculous things we did to pass the time. There was the giant homeless man who would amble in with his headphone blaring, take a lap around the store, yell out something random such as "That was the greatest time I ever had!!" before walking out again. I was our store Santa one year at Christmas and the Easter Bunny too if I am remembering correctly. I could go on and on. It was a great place to work for those three or four years.

We parked, got out, and Nicole asked, "Where is it?" I calmly answered, "It's right next to the Hollywood Video. It's right the--" I stopped short when I realized that the windows usually lit by the fluorescents I replaced dozens of times were dark. The displays I dusted over and over again were gone. The card racks I hosed down out in back in my swim trunks on a summer afternoon were no more. No cards. No Precious Moments. No people. Dick's Hallmark had been closed.

I've never been known to handle loss well and this moment was certainly no exception. Did I cry? No. Come on, let's not get melodramatic here. But I was certainly very upset. Remember in "Gross Pointe Blank" when John Cusack goes home to find that the house he grew up in was now a convenience store? It felt similar to that. They closed the doors on a chunk of my childhood and I knew nothing about it until that moment when I walked up to the doors. I peered inside and saw my memories gutted before my eyes. Emptiness. Nothing but cold, hollow, soulless emptiness. And it seemed so vast. Like the moment after being dumped when you realize despite the freshness of your pain that you've already been left behind, I was heartbroken.

Part of my love/hate with Long Beach is all the things it reminds me of when I return. Sometimes it's fun to recall the old days. Other times, it's a vacuum that fools me into believing I never left. Then there's the times like this one when it's neither. These are the times when I realize the old days are gone and not only have I left, but I can never go home again.

File under: Woe Is Me

I got an e-mail yesterday from the folks at the American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest. The grand prize is $5,000 but the real award is that, even if you make it only to the semi-finals, people are going to be reading your work and by "people" I mean people who are in a position to do something with it, agents, producers, development folk. So I get my annual e-mail stating the winner, finalists, semi-finalists, etc. and, as you might have guessed, the big unwritten P.S., "You're not on it." I read over the list, the titles of scripts and their authors and I couldn't help but plunge into the self-pitying pool of "What did they do that I didn't?" I read each and every name and, while I didn't see anyone I knew personally, I quickly recognized them all as the people passing me by.

None of this is new. I've entered contests before, including this one twice. At this point, I consider it a shot in the dark where the $50 entry fee is well worth the 3-hole-punchers' chance that I might make the cut. Despite the obvious feelings of inadequacy and failure described above, I wasn't all that broken up about it. It would be a big deal, sure, but it's not the only way to break through. No, the real core of my disappointment and pain this year was not simply seeing in print the names of all the competitors better than me. The hot stinger that stuck in my chest and could not be plucked out was the fact that, despite getting this e-mail thanks-but-no-thanks-ing me for my entry, I didn't even submit a script this year. I had nothing new to turn in. Even in a tough loss, there is a certain pride that comes from playing a good game. I didn't even put on my cleats and walk on the field!

I really need to start writing again. Not for a contest, just for me.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Happ Groundhog Day Everyone!

Good ol' Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter. Gee Phil, I just don't know if I can bear six more weeks of gorgeous 74 degree days, especially with those beautiful blue skies. You are a cruel, cruel little varmint.