Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Diva Las Vegas

"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" -- an adage that's often repeated (if not lived by).  This past weekend, I was actually able to abide by it (despite this, um, public blog post...). Anyway, after months of organizing and outfits planned, my friends and I made the long awaited trip to Las Gaygas where we prepared for the worst... and anticipated the crazy.  I can easily relay tid-bits of the entire weekend in a mere paragraph slump, but that's so unlike me.  Let's break it down:

TIMELINE
Friday, April 3rd: 1:34 p.m. - The Car Ride.
And it wasn't your typical car ride.  It was your Popstar intensified car ride.  With tunes from Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and Hilary Duff intermixed with lollipops and teen pop magazines, what more can a boy ask for? 

3:23 p.m. - The Gas Station.
When you're with friends, why make a typical gas stop boring?  We transformed the station into a Top Model photo shoot.  "Two girls stand before me, only one can stay...".  Suffice to say, it was a blast.

5:21 p.m. - The Near Death Experience.
Just about two hours later, a vehicle drives beside us, rolls down their window and frantically points to the hood of the car.  Paolo dismisses them politely and we continue driving.  Well, it turns out we'd been driving with the hood still open - flapping around just waiting to fly open.  Incidentally, Paolo knew about it the entire time!

5:25 p.m. - The Pee Break.
So after pulling over and securing the hood, it was time for the obligatory pee break.  The only problem... we were in the middle of nowhere.  Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go...

6:30 p.m. - The Hotel.
Ironically, we departed from the city Hollywood only to stay in the hotel Planet Hollywood.  While we could have stayed in any ole' actor's room (Darryl Hannah anyone?), we were able to stay in a Michelle Pfeiffer decorated room.  Catwoman over the bathtub?  ... um, meow.

7:25 p.m. - The Strip.
And no, I'm not talking about taking off my clothes! It was time to take the city by storm... literally.  We refueled with pizza adjacent to an indoor rainstorm.  Only in Las Vegas would you be treated to a slice of cheese with a side of rainfall.

11:00 p.m. - The Gay Bar
After a few hours of gambling (and losing), we decided to make our way to the trashy gay bars of Vegas.  And trashy they were... Fortunately, we were treated to a nice cup of Hot Chocolate.  (oh, by the way, Hot Chocolate's the name of the drag queen.)

2:30 a.m. - French Fries and Gambling.
While we know Vegas never sleeps, it's safe to say my friends sure do.  After most of them dropped like flies, Jamison and I tried our luck for a few more hours.  Jamison won!  I did not.

April 4th, 2009: 12:30 p.m. - The Buffet.
When in Vegas, it's almost mandatory to dine at an all-you-can-eat buffet.  And boy did we!  After our fourth plate, it was unanimously decided we'd never go to a buffet again.  Our thighs would eventually thank us for that promise.  (And p.s... the plate to the right was the work of a Mr. Paolo.  He and his sweet tooth makes Willy Wonka look like a diabetic.)

6:25 p.m. - The Divide.
After a much needed rest, it was time for an evening of shows.  A third of the group went to see the divine Bette Midler, another third went to see Peepshow (starring Spice Girl Mel B), and the remaining peeps decided to show everyone that drinking margaritas and vodka at 7 o'clock was actually a good idea.  (Oh yeah, that person was me...)

10:00 p.m. - The Last Night.
A math equation: Eight friends + alcohol + a gay bar x debauchery, a fist, a hand towel, and cement construction tubes = utter mayhem.  Our last night consisted of a few memorable moments (and even more forgotten ones).  However, after what seemed like Nevada's house of shame, I'd have to say the trip was an overall success!

4:20 a.m. - French Fries Part Deux.
Hey, it seemed only appropriate...  

Having been an official college graduate for nearly two years now, I've encountered many different obstacles in my life.  From unemployment to taxes, I've realized growing up isn't as glamorous as my delusional 19-year-old self envisioned.  It's tough.  It's exhausting.  It's nothing like Friends makes it out to be.  However, after actually experiencing the journey, I've realized there are only a few things I'm certain about in Los Angeles: Constant creativity, traffic jams, pollution, and the reliability and grandeur of my friends.

Though, not exactly in that order.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Comment vas-tu?

There's something about the French language that's so hypnotizing.  In fact, there's something about most foreign languages that pulls me in -- like a literary magnet, allowing me to observe a completely different culture.  I've deigned to create a short film that's completely foreign to me (both literally and metaphorically).   Why I've chosen to do this, I have no idea.  However, the more I dive into this project, the more captivating the story becomes.  

Human language is a tricky thing.  Two people who don't necessarily share the same language can have a completely intimate interaction.  A connection that's not formed through dialogue, but a human connection.  That's beautiful to me.  The words are important, yes.  But what's really relevant is the relationship --  real and fascinating.  

Je n'oublierai jamais les choses qui m'ont fait sourire autrefois.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Random Ramblings

It almost shames me to admit that I've been an American Idol watcher for a whopping 8 years.  That confession goes hand-in-hand with the fact that I'm an avid decoupage enthusiast, read PerezHilton.com daily, and actually enjoy dining at Chili's... (What? I like their chips and salsa...)  Anyway, ever since Kelly Clarkson donned the Idol crown, I've dedicated my Prime Time life to that of Simon Cowell and the gang.  I don't include Paula in the lineup since she's never entirely "there" either.

However, this season I've noticed that my AI obsession is dwindling and my attention span for reality shows equals that of the time it takes to drink a can of Diet Coke.  Fortunately, I've gotten into the habit of DVR-ing the episodes and fast-forwarding through 80% of it.  Wouldn't it be great if we had that luxury in life?  Traffic jams and blind dates wouldn't stand a chance.  

In fact, just this past week I went to a few networking mixers where I left the hoodie sweatshirt at home and packed the business cards in my back pocket.  With any social situation, it's inevitable that we encounter people we'd happily DVR straight through.  I met a few myself.  (Side note: I'm convinced wine is the networking equivalent of DVR.  Tune out.  Get out.)  Yet, this time I sailed on through -- swift and smiley.  I think I enjoy interacting with actors the best.  Little ego since we're on a different playing field (and I don't have to listen to the "film guy" drag on about the fact he's a tortured artist). 

What was I talking about?  Oh yeah, American Idol.  This is definitely one of my periodic babble-blogs.  I don't really have one coherent thought, but random ramblings that don't really make complete sense.

I'm drinking the Green Tea Frappacino from Starbucks.  It's like crack.

EDIT: Another side note.  My friend created this hilarious promo pic for our Vegas Vacation 2009.  Just the gays and our favorite artist.  Yes, that's Jennifer Hudson.  More evidence that my past Idol obsession has become widespread...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fate Stepped In

It's a brand new day and the air has never been fuller. Circumstances have arisen that set a completely new cycle into motion. I won't bore anybody with the details, but it involves three things: More writing time. A new found energy. And a path that's inevitably better than yesterday's. (p.s. Who thought up the word "severance"? Or "sever" for that matter? The image of Jason Voorhees and a knife always comes to mind).

Anyway, I have a feeling that better opportunities are around the corner and my previous post concerning irrelevance is, well, irrelevant. It's time to put my metaphorical running shoes on, focus on my primary goal, and chase after my dreams.

I'll see you at the finish line.

Friday, February 20, 2009

SlumHOG Millionaire

It's that magical time of year again. The red carpet's been rolled out and the statuettes have been shined. Oscar Sunday is this weekend and I must admit, my enthusiasm is rather lackluster. Sure, I'm looking forward to the fashion, speeches, and the months of speculation being put to rest. However, this awards season has been anything but exciting -- primarily due to a little/big film called Slumdog Millionaire.

Don't get me wrong, this film is one of my top favorites this year. However, it's hogging every precursor award thus far extinguishing any possible build-up or anticipation for this Sunday's telecast. Slumdog mania has taken over! In fact, just yesterday I was driving on the 405 freeway, minding my own business, and my iPod frequency was interrupted by another driver passerby. Guess what he was listening to? The Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack.

Instead of posting my predictions like every Joe Shmo out there, I'll wish upon my lucky stars for potential upsets including:

- Best Cinematography - Claudio Miranda (Benjamin Button)

- Best Original Screenplay - Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky)

- Best Actress - Anne Hathaway

- Best Picture - Milk

Hey, no guts, no glory. Right?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Self-DiagNonsense

There's nothing like the seasonal slump. The sky seems foggier, the air seems more polluted, and the days drag on like a timeless universe. Or maybe it's just me. After a few weeks of dismal proportions and a conscious hiatus, I've decided to claw myself back into literary civilization. I must admit, it wasn't easy and it took almost every ounce of my effort, but I think I'm finally back. Well, for now at least.

However, this mental self-diagnosis didn't occur overnight. It took days of observation and countless hours of analysis to discover what was actually wrong with me. I'm at a stand-still. While I originally thought time was moving forward with me along for the ride, it seems time actually decided to leave me far behind. Waiting -- hoping -- needing some sort of change that will finally shake me from this common day monotony.

I know, I know. At twenty-four, I shouldn't expect much, if anything, to go exactly how I originally planned (especially in this industry, right?). However, it seems like the "routine" of my life has taken over any spontaneity and I feel trapped. Yes, trapped. I'm stuck in this dark corner where the realm of possibilities seem distant and the Groundhog Day effect seems inevitable.

Therefore, before I let this disorder get the best of me, I've decided to write myself my own prescription. A prescription that will allow me to break free from this entanglement and into something more fulfilling. A prescription that inspires instead of hinders. And finally, a prescription that involves some huge life changes (both professionally and personally) that will ultimately change me into the person I want to become.

I mean, I've come this far, right? What's another 50+ years?

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm Puxatony ill...

Each year, like clockwork, I unfortunately encounter an inevitable time of year - the seasonal slump. I reach a point in my life where my lack of motivation meets spontaneous self-loathing and I lock myself in this uncomfortable rut. It's my own equivalent to PMS... but with less tampons. Which, in due part, explains my lack of blog posts.

Therefore, it probably comes as no surprise that I've been lacking inspiration. Perhaps I'm verging on exhaustion. Or maybe Los Angeles is wearing on me. Either way, I better shake things up quickly before I officially become cynical.

Fortunately, I have the ideas... I just need the motivation.

Motivation where are you?

Why have you left me so?

Come back.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Top Ten ('09)

After countless hours at the cineplex, tons of popcorn consumed, and many movie passes used, I've finally been able to recap my favorite films of this past year. If you have even the slightest clue about me, you know that I'm a total list maker. I make lists when I go to the grocery store, pack a suitcase, and as a salute to 2008 -- My Top Ten Films of 2008.

10. Frost/Nixon
Upon entering the movie theatre, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I mean, the ingredients for this movie seemed all too perfect -- talented cast, Tony-Award winning play, rock star director. Yet, I still wasn't the least bit excited. If I wanted to watch a televised interview between a TV anchor and a politician, I'd have stayed home with Tina Fey and Amy Poeler. Then, without even a warning, a surprising thing happened on my way to the exit... I actually liked it. Not only was this film intriguing, but it was thoroughly entertaining. Who'd have thought a simple stage play between two talking heads could transform into such a nail biting political thriller.

9. The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger. Heath Ledger. Heath Ledger. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the superhero franchise. In fact, I spent an entire summer interning at Marvel Studios where I was painfully swimming in a sea of weird cartoon magazines -- I think they're called comic books? Therefore, when I decided to jump on the highly publicized band wagon, I attempted to mask my inevitable skepticism with a forced calmness. ...And then a revelation. Heath Ledger graced the screen with an almost unrecognizable portrayal of the Joker and I was sold. Next stop: Oscar.

8. Sex and the City: The Movie
While most boys were counting down the days till the latest batman installment, I was anticipating a very different movie. Ever since Carrie Bradshaw packed up her Manolo Blahniks on HBO's hit comedy, I've been going through Sex withdrawals. Seriously, my palms were sweaty and I had the shakes! Then, after what felt like a decade, I saw it! Make no mistake, it wasn't the best picture ever made (and doesn't hold a candle near the series). However, like a drunken night after the Beta Kappa luau, it certainly was satisfying.

7. Doubt
Is there anything Meryl Streep can't do? I'm convinced that woman could portray William Howard Taft and still be nominated for an Oscar. As my previous blog expressively implies, I was beyond impressed with Michael Patrick Shanley's stage-to-screen adaptation. Everything from the writing to the performances deserves praise, especially having dealt with such a controversial subject matter. I have no, um, doubt that it'll get kudos come award season. By the way, that "doubt" pun never gets old. Okay, maybe it does....

6. Wall-E
Who knew robots could be this cute? I was under the impression that most robots were either terrifying (the Terminator), creepy (Hayley Joel Osment in 'A.I.') or gay (C-3PO). Yet, Wall-E proved that it doesn't take many characters or excessive dialogue to create a heartfelt story. Hell, I even rooted for the nasty-ass cockroach. Pixar proves once again that they're the masters behind well-made animation films. Now, if they could only make a film about a tape worm on a whimsical quest in a digestive tract...

5. Milk
"My name is Harvey Milk and I'm here to recruit you". Just hearing Sean Penn say these words sends a shiver down my spine. Initially, I walked into this film with relatively little knowledge of Harvey Milk. I knew he was a gay activist. I knew he was assassinated. Beyond that, I wasn't too familiar with his political background. Then, this 2 hour and 8 minute film did something I didn't expect... it became a stirring admonition on the participatory political process, and an unspoken incitement to get involved.

4. Rachel Getting Married
Have I ever mentioned that I'm an Anne Hathaway fan? It's true, I can't make this stuff up. Therefore, when I finally stumbled upon the trailer for this Jonathan Demme film, I was obviously elated. My favorite gal pal doing what she does best - acting! However, after screening the movie in its entirety, I discovered that it was much more than the Anne Hathaway show. The story was beautifully written and the film was well crafted. It was the best looking home video I've ever seen.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Three hours is excruciatingly long for any movie. I coped through Titanic. I forgave all three Lord of the Rings. I suffered through King Long (er, Kong...). And it's safe to say that Australia and I aren't talking. Therefore, you can imagine my hesitation when I heard Button was another epic long film. Yet, somewhere between my hesitation and Brad Pitt's lips, I seem to have moved beyond any weariness and into complete awe. Having seen it twice, I can honestly say it's the best epic I've seen in years... with a Brad Pitt cherry on top.

2. Slumdog Millionaire
A little over 3 months ago, I was invited to a special screening of this movie. After one look at the poster, I dismissed the invitation assuming it revolved around some sort of marathon and its million dollar prize (Doesn't it look that way??). Little did I know, this film would eventually become a cinematic phenomenon and a Best Picture front runner. This is a prime example why someone should never judge a book, or movie, by its cover. Now if you don't mind, I must go put all my eggs in one basket, cross a bridge before I get there, and cry over spilt milk.

1. Happy-Go-Lucky
I'm not sure why, but I've gotten into the habit of choosing feel-good comedies as my favorite movies of the year. Two years ago, I picked Little Miss Sunshine. Last year, Juno. Now, I've gotten so blatantly obvious, I went and selected a film with happiness smack down in the title. Mike Leigh's film about an excessively peppy school teacher, named Poppy, did what so many films neglect to do -- open the audience's eyes. After seeing the film, I attempted to see the world the way Poppy does. Carefree and positive. However, after a mere two days, I aborted the experiment. I'm sorry, but I'm convinced Poppy was popping Percocet...

Anyway, I say in complete honesty, Happy-Go-Lucky is a film that deserves to be seen. Still feeling hesitant? Perhaps Poppy's worldview optimism is exactly what you need.


Monday, January 12, 2009

The Belfast Invasion

When the words 'house guests' are immediately mentioned, most people have the tendency to become stricken by instantaneous exhaustion, needless worrying, and an inevitable urge to be as hospitable as possible. Two weeks ago was no exception. Upon returning from Christmas break, I was introduced to a brand new clan of characters. Jessi, my alcoholic roommate, had previously spent an entire year in Ireland where she was fortunate enough to befriend a hand full of international natives. Being the devoted chums that they are, they packed their best vacation attire, braved the 10 hour transcontinental flight, and took America by storm.

Initially, I wasn't really prepared of what to expect. I mean, I've heard horror stories of the Irish. They're needlessly vicious, speak with almost undecipherable accents, and can drink circles around any Joe Shmo. However, after spending a significant amount of time with them, I was pleasantly proven wrong (well, except for the drinking part...)

Within the week, not only did I get to know each of them on an individual basis, friendships were actually developed. We talked. We ate. We even had a few drinks. Then, like the analytical inebriate I am, I started thinking about friendships. How many friends can you sincerely call "actual friends"? We all have acquaintances, we have old colleagues, school friends, frienemies, and stand-alone buddies. Yet, the friends we tend to connect with are few and far between. Ordinarily, it would take me a good chunk of time to develop a friendship. Genuine relationships aren't built on a whim, they need to be watered and nourished. It usually takes time for that mutual connection switch to click on. However, when opportunity meets wine, something rare can happen -- you can connect with someone instantly.

It can't be explained. Perhaps the planets were aligned and the universe took advantage of the moment. Perhaps the Irish have some sort of voodoo magic they smuggled into the U.S. (and by "magic", I mean whiskey). Or perhaps, as I make my way into a brand new year, my previous post proves true and I'm finally able to see life in a positive light.

Let's just hope that light lasts. I think it will. It has to.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2009's the New Black

This morning I had an epiphany. Perhaps it's because I've been hanging out with the Irish lately or maybe it's because I've had rose-colored glasses permanently implanted on my face. Either way, I've recently become consciously aware of my daily outlook on life. I've come to realize that every detail of my actions and second of my thoughts correlates to a certain preconceived outcome. Sheesh, I'm like a freakin' billboard for The Secret! However, I believe they actually have something there ("secret", my ass).

As the New Year kicks off in full gear, I've encountered a myriad of people proclaiming that 2009's gonna "kick 2008's butt". They admit 2008 was undeniably miserable and have positive hopes for the future. Well, that's all fine and dandy, but how positive can anyone be starting a new year when their memories of the last is tainted? That's a lot of unnecessary baggage to be carrying around, don't you think?

I'm not saying I'm any better. A year ago I posted a blog that fits seamlessly within the accused. I was all too eager to say, "fuck you 2007" and expect 2008 to treat me any better. Therefore, I'm taking action. I'm learning from my mistakes and taking the proverbial high road. Wow, look at that.... I must be growing up.

So, 2008: Thank you for a fantastic year. We've had quite the journey. Though you've posed a lot of obstacles and challenges, I've gained more than you could possibly know. I've appreciated every second you've given me. And now, as I carefully tuck my memories into my traveling suitcase, I must bid you farewell. A new year has arrived and she's calling out to me.

Happy New Year. Here's to good health and the days.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Year-in-Review

Can you believe a whole year has gone by? It feels like just yesterday I purchased my Manduka high performance yoga mat half-off from Target (only to be untouched for 11 months...). Now, 2009 has snuck out of nowhere and I'm confronted with the inevitable resolutionatory question. I find that New Years is front-loaded with arbitrary expectations that tend to disappoint. How many times can one person swear the oath of exercise?

However, I had a good time last year. I met a few friends, had a drink or two, and avoided waking up in a stranger's bedroom. That's grounds for celebration! In fact, I'm banking on a similar finale this year...

On another note, I'm ├╝ber excited to take down my Christmas decorations. In all actuality, I tend to think of my roommates as yuletide bulimics. They tend to go inappropriately overboard on the paper snowflakes, ornaments, etc. In fact, I've purposely avoided the front room in fear of becoming momentarily blind. Yes. It's true.

Okay, resolutions: Last year, I made a resolution to purchase a 3-piece suit for the obligatory job interview. However, the closest I came to a suit was a $10 jumper from Buffalo Exchange. Does that count? I did, though, make good on a few other resolutions. Screenplay. Check. Website. Check. Read two books a month. 1/2 check. Treat myself more. Double check.

My 2008: Expensive.

This year, I resolve to fix any mistakes I made last year, try my hand at that contraption called a stove, and find a boy (easier said...). I will write more. And I'm gonna shoot for the friggin' stars if it kills me (John Glenn, watch out!).

And this, my friends, was random babbling from yours truly. Hey, I had to start off the year somehow....