Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

31 December 2004

Check This Out. I seriously almost cried when I read it.

Dear Sir:

I am writing this letter of recommendation on behalf of Aaron Thomas who I have had the pleasure of knowing since the fall of 2001. Aaron was a student of mine at Cal Poly in the B.A. Theatre Arts program where I am an Assistant Professor and Head of Acting. Aaron graduated in the spring of 2003 with a GPA of 3.69. 3.92 in his major and with the enormous respect of our entire faculty. Aaron is one of the finest, brightest, most dedicated students that I have taught in my 25 years of university teaching. One of the top ten students I have taught.

While at Cal Poly Aaron was in my advanced Styles class which dealt with Molière, Shakespeare and Restoration. His work was excellent. I know that you are interested in Ph. D. candidates that possess superior intellectual ability, as well as the ability to delve into research and a strong capacity for analytical thinking. Aaron is superb in all of these areas. He has a terrific understanding of language, comprehends very difficult verse and is simply fascinated by looking up historical references and what he may not know. Aaron's ability for excellence in writing, research, and analytical thinking are also reflected in his superb GRE scores. He is an outstanding student. I also had the pleasure of directing him in Othello where he was Roderigo. He is a terrific actor.

Professionally, I have had the pleasure of hiring Aaron for four projects. He directed for our Studio Theatre season at Cal Poly in the winter of 2004, The Sin Project: Four Short Plays by Thornton Wilder and again this fall, 2004, Valparaiso. His research for both projects was comprehensive and insightful and the actors commented on how much they all learned from working with him. He is a tremendously talented director. I recommended him for Taming of the Shrew this past summer at CSULB. His production was intelligent , funny and alive. In all his productions, the actors always know what they are saying and why as well as understanding the style of the particular play. He has directed two stage readings for me at Cal Poly one being The Long Christmas Dinner and the other Love's Labour's Lost. Both were superior.

In addition, Aaron has a great respect and knowledge of voice and how voice can help the actor, particularly the telling of the story. He understands how to make language work and how to work with actors. I have hired him as a voice coach for The Crucible, Othello and The Foreigner. I am a Designated Linklater Voice teacher. My standards for voice work are quite demanding in my attention to diction, precision for dialects that are required, and breathing for Shakespeare. Aaron was invaluable in all of these areas and did outstanding work with the students.

I recommend Aaron without hesitation. He will be an excellent student. Aaron is the type of colleague I will be looking to hire as a full professor at Cal Poly in the future. If I can be of any other assistance please contact me at the email or office phone below. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Linda Bisesti

30 December 2004

I Do So Hate to Be the Bearer of Bad News...

But tonight I saw The Aviator and I really disliked it. It's just so long and oh so boring and there's all of this weird, loving camera work devoted to the absolute lunacy of Howard Hughes: not looking at it in a weird, isn't-this-sick sort of way, but a fascinated, look-what-our-boy's-up-to-now kind of way. There are a couple of really nice sequences: the first flight in that silver aircraft with the flush rivets over the beet fields is really nice and emotionally intense, and quite literally every single scene with Cate Blanchett is fascinating (I can't wait to hear what she's going to say next), umm, and okay I can't really think of anything else I thought was stand-out. It's a studio picture without a heart, and I honestly thought Phantom of the Opera was more interesting.
Oops. I was going to try not to be mean but it got away from me.

So I was pretty confident about Million Dollar Baby winning that Best Picture Oscar and now I know I'm right. The Aviator hasn't a chance. It will probably get a Cinematography nomination, plus Sound, Visual Effects, Costumes, and Art Direction. Marty looks good for Best Director and Blanchett is definitely getting a Best Supporting Actress nomination (if not the trophy itself). That's seven and that's a lot. I don't think the pic has an original song, and the original score is extremely minimal (most of the important moments are set to Bach's Toccata in Fuge in D Minor--weird). It might also get a makeup nomination. So... Eight. Not bad, I guess.
I have to say: the CGI in the movie is not good CGI, and I say it's not good because it's obvious. When I'm watching something and thinking, wow, look at that completely fake image up there on my screen, I think that's a bad thing.

I kind of feel bad for Harvey Weinstein, although I guess I really shouldn't. It's only been 2 years since his last Best Picture.

29 December 2004

So, the Pontiac Sunfire or whatever the fuck this car is called is okay. It's not necessarily as much of a piece of shit as I thought it was.

Tonight I went over to Diamond Bar after work to make the birthday party for John D, Jaime's boyfriend. Jai had this idea in her head that she would throw it like a wake, so everyone wore black and we made this video for John as if he had died. I was wearing a hoodie when they filmed me, so I was smoking a cigarette and saying things to the camera like "John was the nicest homosexual I ever met" and "He taught me so much about what it mean to be a queer." It was funny, and my part on the video was a definite hit.

Oh, and I meant to share all of the gifts I got for Christmas, so here goes:
In America
Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and... Spring

The Complete plays of Tennessee Williams (hardcover, baby)
Jean Genet, Funeral Rites
Edward Albee, Seascape
Edward Albee, Finding the Sun
Augusto Boal, Games for Actors and Non-actors
Augusto Boal, The Rainbow of Desire: the Boal Method of Theatre and Therapy
Richard Greeberg, The Violet Hour
Jerzy Grotowski, Towards a Poor Theatre
Sarah Kane's Complete Works
A Harold Pinter anthology
Warren Leight, Side Man
John Gielgud: the Authorized Biography
A Performance book/lecture on Jacques Lecoq
Shakespeare's Songbook
Plus my cousin got me a daily calendar from The Joy of Cooking. Awesome.

I know nearly everything on this list has to do with theatre, but what can you do? It's what I love.

I watched a little bit of Maurice last night when I got home, and I started to feel a little emptiness in my heart. I want to be in love again. I remember how it felt and I miss the feeling. Maurice just made me want to lay my head on a man's chest and tell him I love him. If you've never seen Maurice and you like Merchant-Ivory flicks, be sure to check it out.

28 December 2004

Must It Really Rain This Much?

I rented a car today. It was really easy. In fact, I got there at 5:50 and the place closed at 6:00p. No sweat. The bummer is that my insurance has decided that they will cover $19.99 a day of the insurance and my car (the second cheapest on the lot) is gonna cost $27.99 a day. Plus, I still kinda have to figure out how I'm gonna drop the car off in the morning and then get back to my casa to drive the rental to work. I will probably be late to work tomorrow. I hope it's not a big deal.

I meant to be starting some of my applications today. Maybe I will in a bit. But where I really want to be is at the cinema watching one of the few remaining films on my list for 2004. No, I need to get to work on these apps or they'll never get done.

There is much to relate about the past couple of days. I will work backwards.

Yesterday, I met Justín at his house in Hollywood and after driving to Westwood for the sake of adventure, we saw Million Dollar Baby over at The Grove. (It's still considered a "holiday period" there, so expect to pay $12.50.) I am predicting Million Dollar Baby to win Best Picture when the Oscar ceremony rolls around in February, but things could change. The movie works splendidly and has a great emotional payoff. Expect nominations for Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood (director) and Morgan Freeman. Furthermore, expect Freeman to take home the Supporting Actor trophy on Oscar Night. Bold predictions after seeing the movie last night, I know, but I think they'll come true.

Funniest joke of last night... Justin: "I thought this movie was about the Lindbergh kidnapping."

I felt so busy this weekend, and busy I do not agree. I like to relax and do things around my house. I'm not saying I like chores; i just like to have time to do chores. Christmas was lovely. I spent the morning with my folks, who all got me books or movies (all of which I selected ahead of time via amazon.) For the evening I headed up to my friends the Dunways' house in Valencia. There were nine people there in total and there was food for days. There was goose and lamb and roast beef and cheese fondue and yams and wassail and green beans and apple-sausage stuffing and mashed potatoes and spinach salad and poached pears in red wine and roasted artichokes and wassail. It was a fucking feast and no mistake. There was also an ornament from Pottery Barn at each setting and Christmas crackers to open. After gorging ourselves we all played Cranium, which is a blast if you've never played. All in all, it was a lovely time with friends old and new and a very happy Christmas day.
The 26th was more family stuff... this time my mother's family. I was kind of a dick at that event. I played the rebel son and kept bringing up liberal ideas. Plus, I showed up early and then left early to go see my friend Jill who is visiting from Ohio. It was also my homophobic friend John's birthday so Jill and I met him for a drink later on in the evening. (He is not a homophobe, really, to be fair... I just call him that.)

I want to relax for a bit... you'd think that would be possible with a long weekend, but no dice.

Also, I am really really annoyed with this one girl at work who isn't pulling her weight. It's not just that. In truth, I think her laziness is symptomatic of a larger unhappiness with life and her inability to be grateful for what she has. The latest news with her is that her beau gave her a ring for Christmas and she went and had it appraised! "I want to know how much I'm worth," she says. Uh-huh.

25 December 2004

Angel of Music

I was in La Verne all day so my cinema choices were limited this evening. The options were The Phantom of the Opera or Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. I opted for Phantom. It was, ummm, pretty. The three leads are all beautiful, and they all sing excellently. That Emmy Rossum has some serious pipes. And I didn't even know Patrick Wilson could sing. I only know I hated his character in Angels in America. Hate. Hate. Hate.
'Tis the season?

Phantom was okay. Not great by any means. It looks gorgeous. I guess my main problem with it is that I'm never sure what's happening in it, you know? If any of you see it I'd like to get your opinion on this. There's a lot of singing, but what, physically, is going on in the film? I just don't get it. There's a lot of symbolism, I suppose, but I don't understand.

I changed my voice mail message. I'm singing on it now:
In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say Are you married We'll say No man
'Cause it's illegal in this part of town

Merry Christmas.

24 December 2004

Trailers, Baby

Robert Rodriguez can get me to watch anything, I swear. Check this out.

And you won't believe this, but Shirley MacLaine returns to cinema after a million years... but it's in a film version of "Bewitched." WTF?

Oh yeah, and this morning I woke up and watched The Grapes of Wrath, which I had never seen. It's wonderful, really. I was getting tired of the politics early on in the film: kind of weary, I suppose, of all of the poverty and the lack of hope, but by the time Tommy leaves his mama and gives that speech that they play in old cinema retrospective reels, I was bawling. It got under my skin that first hour and a half and then it just let it rip. Man, it packed a wallop. I thought John Ford overplayed his hand with the end, but I think Grapes is easily his best film.

Merry Christmas, yo. I still have rapping wrapping to do, but I'm off to the folks' house for a little R&R before the madness of the next couple of days.

22 December 2004


This evening at 5:30p, a woman in my condominium complex backed into my sad, tired little Honda Accord with her enormous Jeep Grand Cherokee. She was very sorry and I was very sorry for her.

But GODDAMMIT. Now I have to get the motherfucker fixed and deal with an insurance agent and figure out how I'm gonna get around without a car for whatever period of time mine is being repaired. What a pain in the ASS.

I don't think I would've gotten mad anyway, but I am so exhausted that when this woman plowed into my car, I barely lifted an eyebrow my unibrow.* We were in the main driveway on Allen and she was getting out of her car to come talk to me and whatever and I was like "Why don't we go in and park first?" So we parked our cars and then talked about what to do. The whole time, I was just trying to be nice to her. It's not like she meant to hit me or hit me because she's an awful driver or anything: she just didn't see me. Poor lady.
I just got off the phone with my insurance company. Someone will call me hopefully tomorrow, and if not then Monday.

I guess it's good I'm not hanging out with tonight anyway, since I am utterly exhausted and I've been hit by an SUV. Instead, I am on my way to the Cal Poly Holiday reunion, which won't be much of a reunion for me, since I will not know hardly anyone there. I'm going to go see Kathy Vega and the Fallons and then beat it. It's in Pasadena at Bucca di Beppo. (I probably wouldn't be going at all if it weren't down the street.)

*I am plucking that shit as we speak: it's unbelievable that I've let it get this bad!

It Hurts to Change

I feel like I ought to post since it feels like it's been twenty years since I did. So hello out there.

Work has been getting me down so far this week. I think it's because there isn't that much to do at work (which is just weird). We're always so busy, so I'm not sure why we're not busy now. I know I have job security and everything, but it's times like these when I feel like I could be getting fired any minute. Hm.

I have been so very busy with the "Holidays," as they have come to be known. Saturday I went to see Madison in A Christmas Carol down at SCR. She was very cute and the show was quite charming... and I saw James Ray, who looks the same as he did in University... at least to me. The show was nice and it's always nice to see Maddie, but this took up my whole day. I got home at 8:00p, went grocery shopping and headed out to see Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside) which is the first movie with positive buzz this season that has really connected with me. The Sea Inside is awesome. Really. It's great. It's an incredibly beautiful, life-affirming movie about a quadraplegic who wants to end his life. It's quite powerful and I connected with it very emotionally. Hooray for good cinema.

Sunday I went to lunch with my mother and then to Nancy's house to visit for a while and then to the girls' for friends Christmas night. It was lovely... everybody but Derek was there from the circle of friends and we had a great time. I should post about Scott and the disappointing blow he dealt me on Sunday, but I'll let it wait until another time.

Yesterday I finished all of my Christmas shopping and watched Miloš Forman's The Firemen's Ball which is a hilarious Sixties movie from the golden era of Czech cinema.

Tonight, Wahima and I saw Caroline or Change at the Ahmanson Theatre and it was spectacular. I loved it so much and I'm so glad we went and didn't miss it. I don't think I would have forgiven myself if we had.

But now it's really late for me. I need to get up in six hours to go to work... something I very much do not want to do. I want to take off work and go downtown and see Million Dollar Baby.


19 December 2004

FYC 2.0

If you are an Academy voter and have any sense whatsoever:



18 December 2004

FYC 1.0

I have been thinking about this a long time, and I want to beg for the following from Oscar Voters



16 December 2004

Quote of the day: Jill

So Jill is walking into a venue with her high school dance team. The girls are wearing black leggings with white oxfords and black fedoras (they performed "Beat It") Jill is wearing a jacket that says "coach" on it. Evidently, this "coach" jacket is what made the random nine-year-old boy feel the need to come talk to Jill.
Nine-year-old boy: "Those are the ugliest costumes I have ever seen."
Jill responds expressionlessly to nine-year-old boy: "So is your face."

15 December 2004

Post for J. Reynolds "Some things stay the same / Like time / There's always time"

I was thinking today about "She doesn't look at me. They never do. How can they. There are long lines of people all the time."

Today after I left Jamba Juice there was a woman with a stroller talking to a female companion about this store "Memories" that had God only knows what in it. As I walked past I sang "Memories" from Cats, and thought how freaking odd I must seem to this lady, to whom I was obviously singing. She answered back with the next line from the song. I didn't look at her; I had sunglasses on anyway. I just kept walking.

I applied for a day off in January to go to Las Vegas for a friend's birthday. The form said "Reason for request of time off." I asked my supervisor what she usually writes and she said "Personal." I wrote "Vegas, baby!"
My vacation day was approved.

Last night I saw Jon Robin Baitz' new play called The Paris Letter. It's really really good and needs a lot of help. It's three hours and has hardly any order at all. He does a lot of things wrong... he usually does. But I always ADORE Act I of his shows. Usually he ruins them in Act II with an upbeat ending that makes. no. sense. This one ends the way it should, but lacks focus and dramatic intention. The characters are masterfully drawn, though. I could fix it if I had the chance, but it's Jon Robin Baitz and he doesn't know me from Adam, so that won't be happening. I wonder how come no one else fixes the show, though. Ah well. Neil Patrick Harris is in the show and he's naked for like four minutes... no shit. He's kinda hot: nice body, a little skinny. The other guy in it: Josh Radnor is also naked in it and he's way hotter. Both are excellent in the show. I forget the other actors' names. Ron Rifkin is the lead more or less, but he just plays "irascible old man." Radnor is the most brilliant talent in the show. Hopefully he goes far... and hopefully he reads this and invites me to coffee. I wish I could fix this play. I know exactly how to do it.

Tonight Allan and I saw The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou at The Grove and we both liked it. It snowed at The Grove at precisely 7:00p--definitely worth the $3 of parking with validation. Plus I did Christmas shopping. Hooray. Almost done.

Oh, and I ran into Nathan Fillion who used to play Joey on "One Life to Live" and then was on "Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place." HOT. I didn't really run into him, but I did walk past him at a distance of about two feet and then turn and stare at him. I've run into other people at The Grove, but I stared at Nathan Fillion.

Quote of the day:
"I heard Mike Steger booked a McDonald's gig."
"Can you still recognize him with the white makeup and the big red shoes?"

Oh yeah, I finished Neil LaBute's Fat Pig, the politics of which are questionable. It's Neil LaBute. This play reads like a shocking episode of primetime television. It does a lot of things right in a lot of ways, but after watching Jon Robin Baitz' play, I was just reminded that Baitz is a very very talented person who needs help with his work. LaBute will never be anything more than somebody who thinks all people are basically assholes. Baitz has more talent in his little finger than LaBute has in his whole upper torso (I can't speak for the lower half).

13 December 2004


Ingmar Bergman is officially THE MAN. I have seen several of his films: most notably Cries and Whispers and Autumn Sonata and I think they are great films. I love their temperature, especially, and I love Liv Ullman in them. I've also seen and admire Through a Glass Darkly and Wild Strawberries but let me tell you, I just finished Fanny and Alexander and I feel like I've been bowled over.

Fanny and Alexander is a stunning, shining work of genius that holds its cards close to its chest and is uncompromising and beautiful. Anyone who says they love movies absolutely must see this film.

The Golden Globe nominations came out this morning. I hate the Golden Globes for their absolute devotion to celebrity and their complete and utter unaccountability, but they do sort of set the mood Oscar-wise. It really is a shame that such a band of outsiders should decide so much in Hollywood. Eh. They showered their blessings today on Sideways, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Kill Bill: Vol. 2. Li'l Miss Scarlett Johanssen also got herself a boost today and so did, inexplicably, Kevin Kline. Whatever. Very good news for Cate the great, though, as she is looking more and more like an Oscar nominee lock for The Aviator. It's-about-motherfucking-time.

12 December 2004

I didn't go to the cinema today. Instead, I cleaned like a madman. I moved all of the furniture and vacuumed everything. I replaced all of the light bulbs in the house, cleaned my bathroom, did the dishes, bought a print for the kitchen, replaced some of the fixtures in the bathroom and threw away a whole bunch of crap. I cannot believe how clean my floor is.

Besides, none of the films I want to see is playing near me and I just don't feel like driving to Hollywood today after driving to Santa Monica by way of Valencia last night. (The party was really fun, though. I love shit like that sometimes. I just talked with people about whatever nonsense came into my head. When I don't know anyone I can occasionally have a really nice time. No prospects, though there was this adorable Peruvian/Wisconsonian optometrist at the party who looked to be about 26 and came to the soirée direct from the audience at the Pasadena Symphony.) End flashback.

I watched about half of Fanny and Alexander: right up until the intermission, and then Eduardo came home so I shut off the TV. I like to give him the use of his own television when he's here. It feels odd to be watching a movie on his huge television while he's relegated to his room, especially since he uses the TV so much.

The print I hung in the kitchen is pretty cool. It is a framed photograph of a bunch of dusty old wine bottles. Dusty wine bottles say something interesting to me: they are like purposefully neglected little treasures. They know their own value and are simply waiting to be used. Or perhaps they are like academia: full of interesting information and always surrounded by more of the same but rarely called upon.

I bought a play today: Fat Pig by Neil LaBute. I don't like Neil LaBute, but I read scene one because of the title and kinda got hooked. Plus I had a 25% off coupon at Borders. I also felt like finishing a book. I have been reading Genet's Le Journal de Voleur for weeks and it is fabulous but rough going.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Announces


Best Picture: Sideways
2. Million Dollar Baby

Best Director: Alexander Payne, Sideways
2. Martin Sorsese, The Aviator

Best Actor: Liam Neeson, Kinsey
2. Paul Giamatti, Sideways

Best Actress: Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake

2. Julie Delpy, Before Sunset

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
2. Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby

Best Supporting Actress: Virginia Madsen, Sideways
2. Cate Blanchett, Coffee & Cigarettes and The Aviator (WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THE LIFE AQUATIC????)

Best Foreign Language Film: House of Flying Daggers
2. Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Best Animated Feature: The Incredibles

Best Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways
2. Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Production Design: Dante Ferreti, The Aviator
2. Huo Tingxiao, House of Flying Daggers

Best Score: Michael Giacchino, The Incredibles

Sideways is looking better and better for a Best Picture nomination. I am still unsure of its chances, though. Million Dollar Baby is now definitely a lock. I am a little surprised that Collateral, easily the best film about Los Angeles this ywar did not receive any mention from the LAFCA, although I expected them to embrace Sideways. Shit, the LAFCA fricking LOVED About Schmidt and I still can't see why. Important to note if predicting Sideways for a Best Picture nom. It all looked rosy for About Schmidt too and it ended up not being nominated in that category. Thomas Haden Church again? I want them to shut up about him, but good for Morgan Freeman and good for Liam Neeson here. Imelda Staunton is a lock for a nomination, so this award means nothing for her. Virginia Madsen is helped greatly by this and good for her, I say. The Sideways and Eternal Sunshine scripts are the only scripts anyone is talking about right now. Best Adapted and Best Original? I think they're locks for nominations, certainly. Wins are less certain. Things definitely look good for both Dante Ferreti and Huo Tingxiao. I think both are locks for nominations. I think Cate Blanchett is a real longshot for Supporting. There is buzz every single year for her, but she hasn't been nominated since 1999! She does too good of work too consistently. It's really too bad. Maybe this year...

More news Monday with the GG nominations and the announcement by the NYSFC

11 December 2004

Summing Up 2004

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before? Quit a job. Drove 8 hours by myself. Made hotel reservations. Sang karaoke.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn't make any for 2004. I doubt there will be any for 2005, either.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My friend Jill's ex-boyfriend Gareth and his wife Guinivere had a baby named Emma: her picture is on my refrigerator.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No.
5. What countries did you visit? None, I'm afraid.
6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004? A scholarship to grad school.
7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 10/4 My first day at Avjet Corp.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Directing Valparaiso.
9. What was your biggest failure? Allowing myself to get pudgy again.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No.
11. What was the best thing you bought? A new chandelier for my condo and... [I haven't decided yet, but there will be more purchases to come.]
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? The Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsome. My friend Scott.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? George W. Bush and the four members of my immediate family for voting for his ass.
14. Where did most of your money go? My mortgage. Health Insurance.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Troy.
16. What song will always remind you of 2004? Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? About the same.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, easily.
c) richer or poorer? Definitely richer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Yoga.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Thinking about Andy.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? With my brother, sister, parents, and my father's family.
21. Did you fall in love in 2004? Not a chance.
22. How many one-night stands? None.
23. What was your favorite TV program? I didn't watch TV in 2004 except for a single episode of the new "Hawaii Five-O."
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Karl Rove. The entire state of Ohio except for Jill and her fiancée.
25. What was the best book you read? The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Damien Rice and Caroline, or Change by Jeanine Tesori
27. What did you want and get? A new job.
28. What did you want and not get? A boyfriend... who am I kidding? a husband.
29. What was your favorite film of this year? I haven't seen it yet. If nothing better comes out this year, then it's Kim Ki-duk's Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and ...Spring.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Julie, Anna, Lisa, Jaime, Derek and Ryan came over to my house and we talked and just hung out. I turned 23.
31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Achieving some ability to take care of myself better. A million things. What the Hell?
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004? Small is the new Medium. The MX1 shirt goes with everything.
33. What kept you sane? My friend Jaime who ALWAYS understands.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Rodrigo Santoro replaced Raoul Bova.
35. What political issue stirred you the most? The election.
36. Who did you miss? Kristen, Derek and Jill.
37. Who was the best new person you met? Danny Lampson.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004: I learned that waiting for things to get done does not get them done. No one is going to drop by and do them.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "Ground Control to Major Tom your circuit's dead is there something wrong? Can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me?"

I Was Hoping I Could Come Home and Say I'd Seen the Year's Best Film

La Mala Educación is good. In fact, it's really good. But it's not as good as Todo Sobre Mi Madre and it's nowhere near as brilliant Hable con Ella.

Gael García Bernal is out of luck for his Best Actor nomination this year, even though his performance is spot-on. I'm thinking that Almodóvar may still get a Best Director nomination, though. The screeplay could wind up nominated too, I guess, although I just didn't embrace the film whole-heartedly. Pedro obviously has a language and style all his own, and Educación is unmistakably Almodóvar, but I think it has too many layers to it: for me this diffuses my emotional involvement in the characters.

Still, it's a nice piece of cinema and something everyone involved can certainly be proud of. I just wish the story of those little boys in love had been told more clearly.

10 December 2004

Don't Raise Your Eyebrows; You Look Smug.

I am loving this Damien Rice album called "O." I listened to it because of the main song from Closer that he penned. The album is so cool. A small lyric sample:

Don't hold yourself like that
You'll hurt your knees
I kissed your mouth and back
But that's all I need
Don't build your world around volcanoes melt you down

What I am to you is not real
What I am to you you do not need
What I am to you is not what you mean to me
You give me miles and miles of mountains
And I'll ask for the sea

Another excerpt:

You wanna get boned
You wanna get stoned
You wanna get a room like no-one else

You wanna be rich
You wanna be kitch
You wanna be the bastard of yourself

You wanna get burned
You wanna get turned
You wanna get fucked inside out

You wanna be ruled
You wanna be fooled
You wanna be a woman like a man

What a badass guy. He sings a bit like Jude and the lead singer of Coldplay with the sensitivity of John Mayer and Rufus Wainwright, but with a cruel streak.

In other news, the controller pulled me aside today and told me that they asked the owner for a raise for me. "I know you haven't been here long," she said, "but we asked anyway." I'm a fucking rock star.
This week I worked a total of 6 hours of overtime in addition to my 40 regular hours. Things are swell.

Now... The America Play. Do I have a concept? No. Will I invent one in the next hour? You bet your ass I will.


I got a call yesterday from Bill asking me to direct for CSUP in the Spring.

Still haven't sent in my directorial approach to The America Play. That's an assignment for tomorrow. I will do it tomorrow. I'm also going to try to apply to at least one of the other schools.

I did most of my Christmas shopping last night, too... online.

Debs came over. I had purchased alcohol for her, so she came to pick it up. Cheers. We visited for over an hour. It was nice.

Tonight I will go the cinema. Probably Bad Education, since there are really late shows and all the movies I want to see are playing in Hollywood.

06 December 2004

I Don't Like Mondays

Went to Westfield Santa Anita and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was uncluttered with riff-raff on a Monday evening. There were very few people there in general. It was nice.

I went to Express Men and exchanged the blue shirt I bought on 11/26 for the green one I wanted that they didn't have on 11/26. It's a very nice green: a kind of jewel shade of lime.

I finished re-reading The America Play. As I was reading I kept asking myself "What the fuck am I gonna do with this?" I called Allan but he wasn't much help, although his explanation of "The Great Hole of History" was better than the stuff milling about my head. PLUS something Allan said--can't remember what it was now--made me think of a set. Maybe I'll read it again tomorrow. I just don't know what this play looks like. I hear it really well, and it's a badass piece of writing, but man, I don't see it.

At least they didn't assign Imperceptible Mutabilities of the Third Kingdom. ? Geez.

I had a nice salad for dinner: bacon, Gorgonzola, jícama, tomatoes, fresh basil. Yum.

I think I was going to say something about work. Ah well. The CFO loves me now, by the way. She asked me about movies today and then roped me into conversation for twenty minutes. And then I worked an hour of overtime. I love this job, I swear.

Oh, and I didn't hear back from Dr. Melissa Aaron about writing me a recommendation, so I decided to hit Send on the Berkeley application. I am now completely finished with Berkeley. I still have stuff to send in for Stanford (obviously: see above frustration about Parks' America Play.)

To go:
Cornell University, Ithaca NY : Deadline 1/15/05
University of California, Davis CA : Deadline 1/15/05
University of Washington, Seattle WA : Deadline 2/15/05

I wonder what hoops they'll want me to jump through...

I'm an Adult. 'Cunt' away.

I liked Closer, but I certainly didn't love it. I saw it last night with Elizabeth after we had a surreptitiously truncated excursion into the Beverly Center. Why on Earth a shopping mall would close at 6:00p in December is incomprehensible to me. I expect better of West Hollywood.

Closer, as you may know, is a witty, biting, venomous play by Patrick Marber, and the play I directed as my senior project when I got my undergrad. At least I see it as biting and venomous. The movie is only a tad vitriolic. It definitely has its moments, and the really cool scene that is my favorite at the end of Act I remains intact and still packs a punch, but a reviewer used the phrase "Neil LaBute Lite" on Friday and I think that's fairly accurate here. I never liked Neil LaBute and I still don't, so maybe that's an insult... perhaps I just think the movie is Closer Lite. A lot of the vulgarity is edited out... not all of it, mind. There is certain stuff at which I still cringe, but the movie uses the word "fuck" only about half the time the play does, and there isn't any sex in the flick at all.

This was the biggest disappointment for me watching the movie. If it were my movie I would have done so much differently it's not even funny: starting with there would've been some sex, baby. Also, and Elizabeth pointed this out so don't think I came to such a realization alone, I think I see the material in a completely different way than Mike Nichols did. For me, the play is about poison and us hurting other people because we can, and it's about lying and when we should lie and when we should tell the truth. For Mike Nichols (again, this is Elizabeth speaking), the play is about love and cheating. When I directed it, Closer was very much not about love, and I still see the material as not about love.

Clive Owen is fabulous in the movie and will definitely be nominated for an Academy Award.
Julia Roberts and Jude Law are excellent: note-perfect, actually, and though their chances are less sure with AMPAS, they are not undeserving.
Natalie Portman is way better here than she is in, say, Attack of the Clones, but not nearly as great as she was in Garden State and Cold Mountain. The role is flashy, though, and chances, I would say, look good for her to be nominated as well.
Look for the screenplay to nab a nomination and one of the Damien Rice songs (the main one in the film "Blower's Daughter"--whatever that means--is not original) but I think he wrote one or two others.

04 December 2004

Aaron Goes to College: Vol. 1

"Aaron Goes to College" is akin to Kill Bill, I feel, in scope and length.

I have been applying to college all day. After I woke up and did yoga (!) I ran to Target for envelopes (just the regular kind) and some quarters. When I got home I shut the door on the roommate and his girlfriend and attempted to finish all of the application processes for Stanford and Berkeley. I finished the web-based part of Stanford and pressed Send. I still haven't finished Berkeley because I'm waiting to hear if Dr. Melissa Aaron will write me a reccomendation. If she will, I'll hold off on pressing Send, but if I don't hear from her Monday, I'm hitting Send without her. After I hit Send at Berkeley, I'll be done with that school. But I still have more to mail in for Stanford. As follows:

1. Stanford wants a Statement on Directing, which they describe as "a brief (no more than 3 pages double spaced) description of your approach to a proposed production of one of the following plays: Sophocles’ Electra, Shakespeare’s King Lear, Brecht’s Good Person of Setuzan [sic], or Suzan-Lori Parks’ America Play." I'm totally going with the Parks' piece, but I'm exhausted. That can get done tomorrow.

2. Stanford also wants "one or two papers that best demonstrate your potential for doing independent and sophisticated work in criticism. Please do not submit papers of historical research that is not subjected to analysis, reviews of productions, or original plays. We value historical study, journalism, and playwriting, but such work gives little indication of your ability to handle critical language or deal with abstract ideas or aesthetic theory. The paper need not deal with drama; critical studies of another genre could provide the evidence we need." Thankfully I have something that fits this bill. It's called "Girl-Power and the English Restoration," and it's quite good if I do say so myself.

3. I'm also supposed to send "a statement indicating your experience attending live theater so that the Committee knows what kinds of theater you have been exposed to at this point in your life."

And this is only two schools. I have three more of these bad boys to turn in.

Pop Quiz


Is a picture of...

A. Artistic director of L.A. Women's Shakespeare Company, Lisa Wolpe
B. The kid who didn't win on "American Idol," Clay Aiken
C. Friendly blogger, girmo2003, with glasses

I may be forsaking Rodrigo Santoro...

I saw House of Flying Daggers last night and I liked it better than Hero... though not that much better. It is just as rooted in silly melodrama and fantasy, though I liked the politics of this one better and the end makes a lot more sense than Hero's. Also, House is not as outlandish and seems a tad bit more rooted in reality.

But the real discovery of last night was Takeshi Kaneshiro. Oh my god, this man is beautiful.

03 December 2004

My Honor Student Is Not Nearly as Cool as Your Student

What happens if your kid turns out to be totally uncool.

I was watching a some people last night: an older couple and a younger one. The older woman was either the younger woman's mother or mother-in-law. But I couldn't help notice how much cooler the older woman was. She had a nice haircut, rather stylish outfit, etc. The younger woman (mid-forties, let's say) had bangs and hair down to the small of her back, too-tight jeans, and was clearly uncool. What, I mused, must the older woman think of the younger. If she's her mother-in-law, she probably thinks her son chose awfully poorly, but it's so much worse if she's her mother! I mean, how could she with the stylish haircut and savvy demeanor have produced someone so out of it?

Then I took the thought further. My father the minister produced a liberal, athiest, homosexual son. Could I not then produce a son who could become a convert to Christianity or Islam or something? How horrified I would be! And if my son could be converted to a religion could he not then become homophobic even, and be taught to hate my partner and me? I mean this could happen!!

I mean, I suppose every child hates his parents at some point in his existence.

What did our parents do when we hated them?

01 December 2004

Oscar Season Begins

National Board of Review

Best Picture: Finding Neverland
2. The Aviator
3. Closer
4. Million Dollar Baby
5. Sideways
6. Kinsey
7. Vera Drake
8. Ray
9. Collateral
10. Hotel Rwanda

Best Director: Michael Mann, Collateral

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray

Best Actress: Annette Bening, Being Julia

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways

Best Supporting Actress: Laura Linney, Kinsey

Breakthrough Performances:

Topher Grace, P.S. and In the Company of Men (what, no mention of Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!?)
Emmy Rossum, The Phantom of the Opera

Best Foreign Language Film: El Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)
2. La Mala Educación (Bad Education)
3. Maria Full of Grace
4. Les Choristes
5. Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Best Animated Feature: The Incredibles

The big winners here is obviously Neverland, which I think is a ludicrous choice for Best Picture, but... hey, it's the National Board of Review and they're a bunch of nuts anyway.
I think Thomas Haden Church wins big here, too. I guess steam is building for his performance, but I frankly hope it subsides soon. I thought he was the worst thing in Sideways, and I don't know what people think they see, but I just didn't believe this guy when he was talking.
Million Dollar Baby looks like it is going to be a big force soon, and that's good. I hadn't heard of this film three weeks ago and now the buzz is everywhere. Good for Clint Eastwood, I say.
And Collateral! Hello. This movie is getting buzz again and that's awesome. Notice how the NBR didn't mention Jamie Foxx as Best Actor for Collateral and Ray. That's because they're pushing him as supporting for Collateral. Whatever, but that means he might actually get two nominations this year... geez. But good news for Michael Mann, and congratulations: Collateral is an excellent film with a soul of iron and I respect it a Hell of a lot.
Good news also for France and Spain for The Sea Inside and Choristes, respectively. Those are the only two flicks on this list up for the Foreign Language Oscar, and their pedigree definitely increases being mentioned today.

Big losers today: Spanglish, The Phantom of the Opera, and I'd mention Alexander, but it's already dead and there's no need to trample on it.

I have put the movies I've already seen in bold-face, so as you can see, there aren't too many flicks left to catch this year, which, I guess, is a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully a few more good films will emerge in the next couple of weeks.

Best Directorial Debut: Zach Braff, Garden State

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways

Best Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Ensemble: Closer

Best Production Design: House of Flying Daggers

Another Dumb Quiz That I Just HAD to Play

Your Years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Family Line
Dated Draco Malfoy
You are well known for Excelling in Quidditch
Percentage of student body you shagged - 27%
How do the staff and students feel about you *giggle blush*
This cool quiz by lady_ameily - Taken 254197 Times.
New - How do you get a guy to like you?

30 November 2004

I will press send. I will press send. I will press send.

It is so exciting for me to be able to write to you at this, the most thrilling time in my life. There is so much that I want to tell you about how much I love theatre and how much it has completely altered my life. Theatre is in a tough place right now: I see a lot of bad plays, and I often ask why they are being done at all. I can't say why other people love the theatre, but I know why I love the theatre. There is something electric that passes between live actor and live audience. I love that pregnancy: something unknown that has never existed before that moment and probably never will again.
Yeah, so...
I got my old prof Leslie to write me a recommendation to UC Davis. You may or may not know that she used to teach there. Chuuurch. (I stole that.)
I used to hate Leslie... my, how I've grown.

Whitney Houston makes me want to be a Christian... for like 5 seconds. I suppose hope is not lost, for all of you who are praying for my redemption... give me some gospel, and I may convert.

PLUS, the National Board of Review officially kicks off Oscar season tomorrow. I am so fucking thrilled. Seriously, I thought about it for a moment at work today and I just smiled.

Back to business:
Large alterations have been made to the statement of purpose, including a whole (much more upbeat) beginning section. I think I am happy with this version. At least, I feel like I sound more ummm happy about the prospect of going to school. Thanks everyone Allan and Tito, for your input on the letter. Any fresh comments would be appreciated.
When I started out in university, I chose to study accounting. It was the path of least resistance for me as someone who was always good at math and used to thinking about things logically and in terms of set, defined parameters. When I took my first theatre class, I told myself that I didn't know anything at all. I decided I would go into the studio and begin everything from scratch. I had no idea how much the choice would affect my life, how all-consuming a force theatre would become for me, but I very clearly remember the day I made the decision to alter my field of study. The change of major form at my university asked us the reason for our switch. My response was that theatre was difficult. It was something that I had to work hard to do. As a person who was used to puzzles and numbers, my body and my voice were things I was not in the habit of using. I welcomed the challenge. My training in theatre since then has always been that the unknown is the place in which I should live. I must have soaked up the essence of this very early on, because something enabled me to jump into this uncharted world of art and performance and never look back.
My first theatre teacher was a professor of voice. I have always considered myself extremely fortunate to have first worked with someone whose approach to theatre was as organic as hers. Working with her, the goal was always to speak the truth at any given moment: to always be honest in everything. The story, and theatre is storytelling, was always primary, and honest communication was the best way to tell the story. I continued studying voice for the rest of my time at university, and also attended Canada's National Voice Intensive in 2002. While still at university, I was given the opportunity to direct two full-length shows. I also started teaching my own voice classes while attending school. Directing shows and teaching classes changed something inside of me. Teaching became something I wanted to do; something at which I excelled. There is something about assisting others toward their potential that makes me feel like I belong: it makes me positive that teaching is what I want to be doing the rest of my life. I still direct shows and coach voice and dialect at Cal State Pomona, and I love doing it, but it isn't enough. I want to do more.
I cannot wait to begin my graduate study. For so many people that I talk to, graduate study is simply a means to an end. But for me the means is just as important as the end. I want these next five years in graduate school to change me as much as the last five years of my life have changed me. I am confident that graduate school will do just that. Graduate school is a path into the unknown, and the unknown is where I want to live. I want to be molded and changed. I have strong ideas about theatre, performance and the arts, and I want to be in an environment where these ideas can be challenged and considered. Most importantly, I want to surround myself with other theatre students and scholars with whom I can discuss ideas, test theories, and from whom I can learn. I want to teach on the university level: to have an impact on young actors, directors, and other students of theatre. But most importantly, I feel that my education in theatre must continue and I know that I cannot do that on my own. Studying on the graduate level is something I have been thinking about for a very long time. It is what comes next in my path as an artist: no longer the path of least resistance. I am so excited about the future of this art form and the new heights we can reach with it. This is the subsequent logical step in my growth as a theatre teacher, an artist in my community, and a student of life.

29 November 2004


My foolishness occasionally knows no bounds... or perhaps it was the glass of Riesling I had before heading down to the homeowner's association meeting. Suffice it to say that I am now the Treasurer of the Allen Avenue Square South Condominium Community. The more my grief. I regretted it the moment I said I would do it.

But there were only 3 board members left and they needed five. Even with me there aren't as many as there ought to be. And they promised to make the meetings quarterly. Plus I'll be doing the accounting... it's not like I'll need a lot of training, right? And our property manager does almost all of the work, right? PLUS there are the other three people on the board. It's not like I'll be down fixing Mrs. Whitehead's sink in the middle of the day on Saturday, right?

Oh. My. God.

I got invited by a straight friend to go kick it down at Hooters but I decided to pass. I'm going to go to bed and get up and nourish my soul with some yoga.

I have been trying to find an I Heart Malfoy shirt all over the internet to no avail. Boo.

I am currently listening to Rufus Wainwright's new album Want Two. Some of the lyrics are awesome, but I have to say I really like the whole album. It took me a while to warm up to Want One, but I love Want Two. I love this song "Gay Messiah," and I don't think I ever understood it before, but on this album it makes so much sense. It's like a warning to Rick Santorum and Pat Robertson: Better pray for your sins / 'Cause the gay messiah's coming. And there is this wonderful grief-stricken song called "This Love Affair": Can't say that I'm cruising / Not that I don't like cruising / It's just that I'm bruising / From you. It's really quite lovely.

28 November 2004

Ho! Ho! Ho! and a Bottle of Rum

It was a high school reunion down at the Montclair Plaza tonight when I ran into one of the people in my high school clique. Of the maybe ten people in my group of high school friends, I now only talk to five of them and one of those is my little brother. But tonight, Jai and I ran into our old friend A.S. Now everyone knows that A.S. is a mo, but he has been denying it since I've known him. But I'll be damned if Jai and I did not run into him on a date with a guy.

Now normally I would just let him pass on by and not say anything, but seeing he was with a guy, I ran after that motherfucker and made him stop and talk and I hugged him and introduced myself to his date: the works. It went quite brilliantly actually, and Jai and I were both very happy to see him and to see that he's at least coming to terms with his issues.

I know, I know: I'm a drama queen... but this was a big deal. This is such a big step for him and he was such an old friend. I mean, I basically stopped talking to him because I couldn't stand for him to talk about the women he wanted to sleep with. I prefer for my close relationships to have a little more truth in them.

We small-talked and said the usual "we should hang out" "definitely" thing, but I have his number now and we are definitely hanging out. I need more gay friends, and gay friends left over from high school are just a bonus.

Oh My God, I Finished It

Any feedback would be most welcome:

When I started out in university, I chose to study accounting. It was the path of least resistance for me as someone who was always good at math and used to thinking about things logically and in terms of set, defined parameters. I cannot remember why I decided to attempt to study theatre, but I very clearly remember the day I made the decision. The change of major form at my university asked us the reason for our switch. My response was that theatre was difficult. It was something that I had to work hard to do. As a person who was used to puzzles and numbers, my body and my voice were things I was not in the habit of using. I welcomed the challenge. My training in theatre since then has always been that the unknown is the place in which I should live. I must have soaked up the essence of this very early on, because something enabled me to jump into this uncharted world of art and performance and never look back.
My first theatre teacher was a professor of voice. I have always considered myself extremely fortunate to have first worked with someone whose approach to theatre was as organic as hers. Working with her, the goal was always to speak the truth at any given moment: to always be honest in everything. The story, and theatre is storytelling, was always primary, and honest communication was the best way to tell the story. I continued studying voice for the rest of my time at university, and also attended Canada's National Voice Intensive in 2002. While still at university, I was given the opportunity to direct two full-length shows. I also started teaching my own voice classes while attending school. Directing shows and teaching classes changed something inside of me. Teaching became something I wanted to do; something at which I excelled. There is something about assisting others toward their potential that makes me feel like I belong: it makes me positive that teaching is what I want to be doing the rest of my life. I still direct shows and coach voice and dialect at Cal State Pomona, and I love doing it, but it isn't enough. I want to do more.
Graduate study is a means to an end for me. But the means is just as important as the end. I want these next five years in graduate school to change me as much as the last five years of my life have changed me. I am confident that graduate school will do just that. Graduate school is a path into the unknown, and the unknown is where I want to live. I want to be molded and changed. I have strong ideas about theatre, performance and the arts, and I want to be in an environment where these ideas can be challenged and studied. Most importantly, I want to surround myself with other theatre students and scholars with whom I can discuss ideas, test theories, and from whom I can learn.
I want to teach on the university level: to have an impact on young actors, directors, and other students of theatre. But most importantly, I feel that my education in theatre must continue and I know that I cannot do that on my own. Studying on the graduate level is something I have been thinking about for a very long time. It is what comes next in my path as an artist-no longer the path of least resistance. This is the subsequent logical step in my growth as a theatre teacher, an artist in my community, and a student of life.

The Day after the Fall of <i>Alexander</i>

Left to see:

The Aviator,
La Mala Educación,
Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles,
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,
El Mar Adentro,
The Phantom of the Opera,
A Series of Unfortunate Events,
The Polar Express,
Hotel Rwanda,
Million Dollar Baby,
A Love Song for Bobby Long,
House of Flying Daggers

Gosh, that's a short list. Hopefully a few more emerge before the end of the year.

At All Costs, Avoid Alexander

And all of us said, "It's gotta be better than the trailer, right?" Wrong.
If you haven't seen Alexander yet, be wise, take my advice and stay away. Far away. As far away as you can. This movie is terrible.

I wanted so badly to like it. I knew Manohla Dargis had hated it. I thought, "Perhaps Manohla merely holds Oliver Stone to higher standards." No. Manohla was so, so right.

What an unholy, ungodly, awful, ridiculous mess of a film! I sat there wanting to cry or throw up or scream. It was so frustrating to watch. It had such promise. It looks so beautiful. The production is lavish and rich. The battle scenes are expertly filmed. The film stays true to the hero's homosexual affairs. But goddamit if there is not one scene with merit. No, I am unkind. There is a single, five or six minute battle sequence with Darius, the emperor of Persia about forty minutes into the film that is good. The rest is not just "okay," it is terrible. The inane dialogue and incomprehensible political discussions are not the film's main problems, either. The problems are the scenes: almost every one of them. Not one of them (save aforementioned six-minute battle sequence) serves any purpose at all. I kept wondering why I was watching what I was watching. I mean, why did he keep showing me such nonsense? If he was going to pick and choose which of the scenes of Alexander's life he was going to show us, why did he pick the ones he did? I don't think this will ever make sense to me.

The only character in this film who was nicely crafted was Angelina Jolie's Olympias, and I would say she was the best part of the film were it not that she had the most ridiculous Russian/Transylvanian accent. Jared Leto's Hephaistion is terribly written, though Leto seems to pull off something with the role. I did believe he loved Alexander, though I couldn't figure why. Poor Colin Farrell needs some voice work like nobody's business. I just don't know what he's doing in this movie. He tries yelling and crying and other things but nothing seems to come across the screen and hit me. Maybe he needs to do a play or something: play a supporting character in some low budget flick. I don't know.

Oh, and if you think you're going to see any nudity, think again. There is a very nice view of Rosario Dawson's breasts (and they are magnificent, I promise you), but that is it. Colin Farrell barely takes his shirt off that I can remember, and other skin is noticeably absent. There is a very dark shot of his ass, but let me tell you, three hours of suffering is not worth it.

Wahima said it best as we left the theater: Troy was more interesting. No shit.

27 November 2004

Sorry I've Been Away

Kinsey is an above average biopic with some fairly good performances. It will probably end up getting it's share of awards and nominations once the National Board of Review kicks off awards season within the next week. My favorite is Peter Sarsgaard. His performances in Kinsey and Garden State this year hopefully mean he'll get some attention. He's also completely naked in the film. Cheers. Kinsey itself is only an okay film, though. I think it lacks something in the direction. It just seems to throw facts at us. There doesn't seem to be much of an actual plot, and there are very few "money" scenes, if any at all. There is a lot of discussion of sex, and most of it is quite frank, unfortunately, I thought very little of it was compelling. The last scene in the film is wonderful, but I think it's really the only great thing in Kinsey.

I really liked Finding Neverland, but I didn't love it to death or anything. I certainly don't think I liked it as much as I liked last year's Peter Pan adaptation. That little boy who plays Peter is quite remarkable, and I quite liked Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman, and even Radha Mitchell (okay, the whole cast), but it's really just a little melodrama. It has its magical moments, but, I don't know, I guess the film just didn't blow me away to any huge extent. I certainly cried (we all expected that) but not nearly as much as I expected to. I think it's because Marc Forster introduces us to the magic way to early. I can't think of how else to do it, but the magic should have been something that he earned. In other words, he didn't make me believe, he just assumed I already believed.

Thanksgiving went okay, I suppose. I made macaroni and cheese; sausage, spinach and mushroom dressing; and whole cranberry relish. My mom made the turkey and the mashed potatoes and there was broccoli salad with cranberries and almonds and someone must've heated up some corn, but I stayed away from that starchy nonsense. The family was aiight. We had a few games; talked a little... I dunno. It was unremarkable, I guess.

But today I shopped. I went to Express where they were giving away scarves with any purchase. I bought two shirts and got a scarf for free. Cheers. Then I went to Expo Design Center. They are waaaay understaffed at this store, I have to say. It was impossible to find help. I bought a chandelier, though, and it looks beautiful. PLUS it was really cheap as chandeliers go. Then I went home and installed that shit.
Yes, I know how to install electrical fixtures. I was quite proud of myself, actually.

Christmas shopping? What's that about? I shop for myself.

24 November 2004

Read Daily

Whoever doesn't read FugWorld every day is missing out. This is the funniest fucking weblog on the planet.

22 November 2004

Poor Eve

This evening I saw Being Julia. Granted, it has an awful title, but this movie is fucking funny. Annette Bening will almost certainly be nominated for Best Actress come January, and she might win if the wind blows her way. Her performance in this film is masterful: an amazing work of fiction.

The movie itself has a few problems: it loses track midway and goes off on a few tangents it doesn't need, but it all comes together in the end. This is an understatement. The climactic scene in Act III is absolutely brilliant. It is a scene of comedic genius, fantastic storytelling and hilariously fine work by Miss Bening. This scene pays off so well that I don't think I could possibly oversell it. I doubt it would have been better if it had been penned by Mr. Wilde himself. It's hilarious.

This film is most effective for theatre people, I think, and gay men in particular. If you are a diva, this is your film. It celebrates divahood unabashedly. Being Julia is All About Eve if Bette Davis had been able to stick it to Anne Baxter and twist the knife, and this is finally what pays off about the film. I don't want to ruin it, so I won't say more, but I thought this film succeeded wonderfully.

21 November 2004


Just thought I'd add: for dinner tonight I spiced up my tunafish salad on wheat toast with a little fresh tomato and goat cheese. It rocked.


I think I will skip the Academy Screening of The Greatest Story Ever Told and hit a showing of Being Julia, or if Elizabeth is free, Kinsey.

Next week La Mala Educación and Alexander!

Terrorism Is Afoot

I always assumed in addition to my friends and the people I have invited to read my weblog, that it would be read by people who were not made aware of its existence by me. It's fine. If you'd like to read, you certainly may. I welcome it, in fact... and feel free to comment if you get the urge. I'd love to hear from you. I make no secret of this weblog. But if you are going to use this weblog to sabotage the work and relationships of others, I advise you not to. It's just not nice.

And now for news of the weekend...

On Friday, I left work and booked it to Hacienda Heights to see my friend Scott in The Diary of Anne Frank at Los Altos High School. Los Altos is doing something right. I don't mean that the show was brilliant or anything: it was far from it, but this place was packed. I have never seen so many people at a high school theatre performance. It was quite something. I was literally the last person to purchase a ticket. How is it that a depressing high school show about Jewish internment can have a bigger audience than a hilarious comedy at a university with really cool special effects. What is Los Altos doing right that the publicist at CSUP is doing wrong? I ask you.

Scott played Mr. Frank. He was excellent as usual. I really hope this young man studies acting somewhere when he goes to university. He has so much potential. I don't particular care for Anne Frank, but Scott's performance had me actively holding back the tears. I have to say, though: weird choice for a high school play.

On Saturday, I watched Empire of the Sun, which might be my favorite of all of Spielberg's movies. I know that I have trashed Spielberg repeatedly in this space and elsewhere, and I still think that he deserves a lot of the bile I chuck his way, but Jaws and now Empire of the Sun, make me really appreciate ol' Steven. I still dislike A.I. and E.T. and The motherfucking Terminal, but Empire of the Sun is beautiful: surreal and dreamlike, but hugely emotionally affecting with an interesting political core. A good portion of the film is a redux of James Clavell's King Rat, but damn the script (by the superb Tom Stoppard) is good.

After Empire, I met Wahima in La Verne and we saw The Incredibles, which has charm for days and is unbelievably clever. Everyone has seen this movie and everyone loves it, so I won't say anything more than I loved it too and I think it is a lock for the Animated Feature Oscar and will probably get an original screenplay nomination, too. Machine washable, darling: that's a new feature.

I visited my parents after the Brad Bird flick and we finalized the Christmas letter. My family cracks me the fuck up, I swear. Michael and Debs went on and on about how dad ought to take out his Chinese furniture store joke. They think it's too much of a non sequitor. Aside from the finer points of comedy in the Christmas letter, we discussed national politics, other Christmas logistics, and the huge fight during the NBA game on Friday night. My dad suggests that President Bush send Colin Powell and Jimmy Carter as his envoys to create lasting peace between Palestine and Israel. This sounds like a great plan to me, but we all know it won't be happening.

Then I went to see The Foreigner. It's a lot better. Chris seems worse, but that is to be expected, I suppose. The audience liked him well enough, I guess. Tori has sped up a lot and her performance is much funnier because of it. The one joke I put in the show got a huge laugh, so I felt good about that. The show is much the same as it was when I first reported on its progress in this space about two weeks ago. It has the same strengths and weaknesses I thought it had then. I still think Jensen is the strongest voice in the show. Matt Guerra is still wonderful. And I still think Brittney, Tori, and Rick are giving good—if unremarkable—performances. The dialects are much stronger, and I only detected a few errors: almost all of them Gelvin's.

Busy day, Saturday. After the show Linda drove me out to her new house in Cathedral City (Palm Desert). It's lovely: more lovely than you can imagine from my words. The best description I can give is that it looks like a picture out of the Pottery Barn catalog. It's truly beautiful. At any rate, Tori, Brittney, Catherine, Peter, Matt, Linda and I drank wine and sat in the hot tub late into the night. I drank (in this order) Shiraz, more Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Merlot (I was plastered by this point and just didn't care.)

Today I woke up, showered, had coffee and some eggs and after sending the girls and Peter off to their matinée of The Foreigner, Linda, Matt, their cats and I headed calmly back toward Los Angeles County. We stopped for coffee near the outlet malls on I-10, and I made a quick excursion into the Club Monaco Outlet where I purchased both a hat and a hoodie for under $25. I will be returning to the outlet mall when I have more time. They had $20 jeans there. It's like shopping in Canada! On our way through Riverside County (Banning and such) there must have been 3-5 inches of snow on the ground. No joke: snow—lots of it—on the ground in California. There was snow on the goddamn palm trees. I have never in my life seen anything like it. It was so cool. And then the snow just stopped around the San Bernardino County line: it was so weird.

Today I finished last week's Sunday Crossword (this is 2 weeks in a row, people!), made the grocery list for Thanksgiving, randomly cleaned, paid some bills and finally watched John Singleton's Boyz N the Hood, which, if I may say, is no Do the Right Thing. Nevertheless when Tre hands Furious the gun and Furious holds his son, I started to cry: a lot. This really moved me. I guess it just hit me how much this boy had lost and how much he needed his father to hold him in that moment. The hug also held all of Furious's hopes for his son. With that hug he declared victory on the Hood.
But... except for the hug and a couple of other nice moments (that Morris Chestnut is a looker, ain't he?), I thought the film was really preachy: maybe even extremely preachy.

Why am I not finishing my apps to Berkeley and Davis? Is it because I think I won't get in, or is it because I think I don't need to try that hard? Whatever it is, it is procrastination. I just can't get up the energy to go and finish all of this application stuff. I feel so... inadequate.

Just so you know, I have busted out my Xmas music. Feel free to do the same. And if you happen to burst into Burl Ives' "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," while standing in line at the grocery or the coffeehouse, just ignore the bewildered stares of others. It's the fucking holidays. Bring cheer to the lives of others! Cheers.

16 November 2004


My dad sent me the first draft of his annual Christmas letter.

The big news of the year is Camp La Verne moved. After about seven years at Baseline 91750, we determined it was time to downsize. Since Aaron and Mike have both left the nest, it was time to eliminate the vast caverns of empty rooms. So in a matter of days, we bought the Hanawalt Villa. It is located at 2740 Hanawalt Street, La Verne in case the Christmas card you sent us came back already. The house has fewer rooms, but the floor plan has space for a business office for Chris & Kim and a creative office for Deborah adjacent or included in her bedroom, depending on the use of the retractable divider. So Aaron took the couch, Mike got some useless stuff out of the attic, and the rest went to the thrift store or is in a small storage unit. Downsizing can be exhausting. All the vital paraphernalia we did manage to squeeze in somehow. Everyone needs to keep their 3-foot singing snowman for the holidays! So we are back in business, better than ever, at Hanawalt, snowman and all.

KIM is moving with the speed of a tornado on multiple fronts. Her guidance counseling has received rave reviews from parents, students, and board members at the school. With no Vice Principal, she was able to contribute ideas to student scheduling and class accreditation. She also helped organize graduation and the Academic Awards Night. This was the most well attended awards ceremony in anyone's memory. Over 500 awards were given out, in a lovely semi-formal atmosphere. One parent was brought to tears by the invitations alone. Keeping track of the Hanawalt cash flow, paperwork and schedules at home is also on the agenda. Even with all this on the plate, she still manages to support others and her sons from afar, who seem to manage to coerce her into a free haircut whenever needed.
AARON is ecstatic about starting a new job. After working for one accounting firm since the summer of '95, he left the minimum wage treatment for Avjet. This is an executive jet leasing firm, so we are hoping that a few years there and he will accrue "family flight hours". Although he misses his comrade in arms for many years, Nancy, he enjoys both the new challenge and the time and a half pay for overtime. He has continued directing, putting together a summer version of Taming of the Shrew. Set at the beach, the bikini-clad actors made for a fun evening at Cal State Long Beach. Aaron also had a terrific interview for the Master's program at UCLA that lead him to the decision to apply for a Doctorate Program. Hence, he expended time studying for the GRE with fine results, and is selecting school possibilities. He also took the election season to heart and determined to be a cabinet member of his condominium association. Voting on what type of landscaping for the building is important for long range financial responsibility. He seems to thoroughly enjoy his location in Pasadena, but occasionally regrets the length of drive to his base of directing operations at Cal-Poly. He had a successful fall program, a mad-cap comedy about a salesman making a trip to Valparaiso, Indiana who is diverted to Valparaiso, Florida and then Valparaiso, South America. The salesman begins the talk-show circuit, which has a tragic end on a Jerry Springer-like revelation show. Aaron also worked as dialect coach for Cal-Poly on their winter production. This is all progress toward a full-time life in academia. Cheers.
MICHAEL continues to expand the universe of property ownership, attempting to earn the moniker of Trump Jr. He has purchased property in Alabama, Texas and Ohio. He keeps vacillating between owning ½ of greater Dallas-Fortworth and owning a property in all 50 states. Either goal is admirable even if only partially fulfilled. He continues to use his sales savvy in California real estate, as he urges others to invest in the high-flying market. "Remember I don't just sell houses, I turn your dreams into reality!" As his portfolio expands he has managed to tighten the deficit spending on other items, limiting his purchases to a small plasma T.V. and furniture for the house. He had to make some home improvements since he did not change houses, yet. He is happy Aaron is working for Avjet so that some one will keep a close eye on his Lear Jet, once he has enough money to buy one. He has two roommates, recruited by Deborah, so that at least now there is decent food in the house. He has cut most other activities, except for the gym… the slacker.
DEBORAH has switched schools and is now enrolled at Mt. Sierra College. She is entered into the bachelor's degree program, majoring in multi-media design. This was a big change from Cal-Poly, but the fast pace and intensity of the work is much more to her liking. This was evidenced by her promptly making the Dean's Honor Roll. Pretty good for someone who has never had an art class. She sometimes struggles with the raw drawing, but the computer generated skills required give her an advantage. She put this to good use pulling together some creative power-point presentations that were used at the Academic Awards… "You're welcome, Mom." She has improved at appearing interested when her dad goes off on his political tangents. She has learned to nod and smile with an occasional, "That totally makes sense," as she exits the room. She did a fabulous job selecting the flowers for the landscaping, choosing the patio tile and furniture and assembling cabinets and installing a ceiling fan. She also overruled Rick the painter in selecting the paint for the house and it resulted in an awesome combination. So the eye-for-design is already paying home dividends. Next is the bathroom, faux gray with sponge paint where?
CHRIS was blind-sided by work, and assumed the role of Chief Compliance Officer. Since this is a mandatory position, under the scrutiny of the federal regulators, he either does the job right or joins Martha Stewart in a low security penitentiary for securities violations. If you see the Thomas name on the cover of the Wall Street Journal it could be a bad sign, and you may receive a request to bake a cake with a file in it. (Pineapple upside down is one of my favorites.) So with that occupying most of his mental energy he has not devoted as much time to educational or writing pursuits. He still continues to research the wisdom of Proverbs in an attempt to convert it to a Christian business manuscript. Time will tell. Retirement is in the dream-reality phase and seems possible each time Mike looks at a property, Aaron directs a potential Broadway play, or Deborah designs the next Swoosh…I am an optimist! Still the pot of gold remains at the end of the daily rainbow that leads him to his Sweetheart. Oh, Hart to Hart is on again!
Meet the Miniatures: Hannah and Mia Streeter are two adorable girls that Deborah baby-sits while Sheila (their Mom) is working. The Streeter family was the previous Hanawalt residents, Mike's clients, and Sheila works for the Thomas's financial advisor…are you confused by all the connections? The "miniatures" is the title our 8 year old niece, Emily, gave them when she could not remember their names. We still refer to them collectively that way. Hannah is already 4, feisty and with blonde hair she is reminiscent of a certain feisty 19 year old princess. With Deborah as her mentor, who needs cloning? Mia is the "terrible two" who has such a cute grin it is hard to scold her. Mr. Chris seems to enjoy tossing them into the air or swiffering the floor with them, but I think his favorite thing is building the Hannahpire State Building out of Legos. Sheila must be wondering what she got herself into. "Spinning in the computer chair like the Disneyland Teacups is only allowed at Hanawalt."

Originally, we thought that we would stay in the house for two years (not that taxes had anything to do with it) and move for profit again. But after only 6 months, we are starting to feel very comfortable and may stay for good. Since we only bounced about 2 miles, we still kept access to all of our old stomping grounds and just gained access to some new ones. That's strange, I never noticed that Chinese furniture store next to the seven eleven before we moved. That will be helpful in the event I find a need for Chinese furniture. Yes, moving can open your eyes to new things. The size or location of where you live should never the limit the space in your heart. Our Christmas hope is that you open your heart to the love of family and friends wherever you live, and that your vision will be sharpened to the memories you are yet to make. May the PEACE, JOY and LOVE of the season carry you into 2005 with the HOPE of even greater tomorrows.

The letter is notable for a couple of reasons: 1) My dad does not see the need for hyphens with his noun-modifiers; 2) he makes the whole fam sound like we're in constant communication... he was always good at that; and most shockingly 3) the name "Jesus" is not mentioned once.

The phrase "reason for the season," hugely overused during the holidays, is also welcomely absent. My dad is far too inventive for clichés like that. I like this year's letter. There have been years when I have hated it. It even says "Cheers" this year. Good times.

15 November 2004


I just ordered car parts online. I fucking love the web.

I have a date tonight with Matthew Guerra. We're going to see Birth. I wonder if he'll want me to put out.

I fucking miss Andrew, I tell you. But I refuse to call him. I haven't talked to that bastard in so fucking long. I have nothing to say to him anyway. I just miss him.

Oh, I am now eligible for benefits at my job. That includes Health Insurance, Dental Insurance, Life Insurance, Injury Insurance, and Accidental Death Insurance as well as a Cafeteria Plan. Good Times. I had a whole meeting with the HR person today about it. I swear, they love me at Avjet.

14 November 2004

The Bay Bridge Is My New Favoritest Thing

Hello boys and girls,
I have returned from the land of wine and fags. Mental note: Northern California is lovely; Central California is just like San Bernardino. Central California, I never want to see you again.
Friday evening, my drive began with a friendly sig-alert on I-5. Meaning that it took me an hour and a half to get from the Burbank Airport to Magic Mountain Parkway. There was no traffic for the rest of my drive, but that didn't matter much since the rest of the drive lasted a very unfriendly six and a half hours! And All By Myself, I might add. I put in my learning Spanish on CD thing and did that for a long ass time. Philip Glass kept me company as well. I probably shouldn't mention that at some point I had an intense desire to listen to one of the Vanessa Williams albums I own. Oh well; secret's out. It was approaching 1:00a when I checked into the hotel in Healdsburg, Sonoma County. I was out like a light.

Free breakfast in the morning, so you know my ass was up. I looked around the little hamlet of Healdsburg: lame. So I bought a turkey/pesto sandwich and started reading The Thief's Journal in the park downtown (no small feat, I assure you.)

The wedding was Saturday afternoon and it was lovely. It was easily the nicest wedding I have ever been to in my whole life. It was on the lawn of this mansion they rented out next to a winery. It was beautiful. There were only 21 guests, too, so it was very personal. Madison & Brantley had a card on each of our chairs with such nice stuff written in each of them. After the ceremony, which was brief but emotional, they took pictures on the lawn, while the sommelier busted out the Syrah. He offered white as well, but I ignored him, and I think nearly everyone else did too. I had already made fast friends with Maddie's younger married friends Brian and Suzy, so we spent most of our time together, laughing about casting directors and making fun of architecture (and other people's outfits, naturally). Where was I? Okay, we're eating goat cheese tartlets and bruschetta, and drinking Syrah, while the bride and groom are taking pictures. Then we ate. The mansion did all the catering themselves, so we got a choice of appetizer: Sugar Pie Pumpkin Ravioli or Endive Bleu Cheese Salad. I chose the wrong one and opted for the ravioli: foolish me, the salad was awesome. Then we got a choice of entrée: Filet Mignon, some fish, or gnocchi. The fish was really cool actually: they had stuffed it with herbs and garlic. It looked awesome. I naturally, ordered the beef and felt no guilt at all. Oh wait! I missed some stuff.

So when we got to the tables, instead of name placards, there was a silver-framed black-and-white photograph of each of the guests with their name on it and a small poem or saying on each picture. They were all pictures that either Brantley or Madison had taken themselves and wanted to share with us: so cool. Also, there was a pianist and a saxophonist on hand throughout. So after dinner and cake (which was gorgeous, as well), there was dancing and toasts and then we all talked and laughed for a while.
After that, Brian and Suzy and I went to "party in downtown Healdsburg." It was our joke, but we ended up finding a very swank place that would've fit in perfectly in WeHo or Pasadena. It was called BarnDiva's and let me tell you, they had some badass drinks here. The first thing I ordered was called "On the Beach with Fidel": some peach, rum concoction, and the second drink was some kind of gin fizz with lemongrass syrup. It was trés badass. We hung out for a while: there's a long story about a persimmon that I'll leave 'til I see you all. I got back to my hotel safe and sound.

I woke up today and decided not to hang out with the wedding party: and I'm glad I didn't because I got home around 6:00p after leaving Healdsburg at 11:15a. The long drive alone is not something I can recommend with any seriousness.

At any rate, the weekend was successful and I am tuckered out. Call me if you wanna see a movie this week. I no longer have a weeknight gig.

11 November 2004

Sometimes, When I Think No One Has Good Ideas...

I see trailers like this one.

Jane Fonda is back, bitches! And she is making J-Lo's life Hell. Life is Grand.

What Do You Take to Make You Happy?

It's the middle of the week and I'm going to go to sleep.
It's funny how things become so habit-forming. Life is habit-forming. I've been driving to Pomona every single night that I have worked at Avjet and I was doing that a week before I started working at Avjet. That's seven weeks now. And yet, tonight, I drove home and didn't think a thing of it. I went to Starbucks and got my coffee ground, picked up some quarters, went home and did laundry for the first time in two weeks, finished watching The Decline of the American Empire, washed all the dishes in the house, fixed myself a dinner of eggs, ham and jalapeños, poured myself a glass of white wine, and sat down to think. Like nothing. Like it was nothing special. And now, when I think about it, I think about how special being able to do all of those things is. I am very grateful to the theatre in general and specifically to CSUP for allowing me to work there, but I am exhausted. The work has been so much. And working at Avjet and then driving an hour and a half everyday has not been easy. I will miss the theatre in a week and a half, but for now, I feel quite peaceful. I shall return to attending the cinema.

The Decline of the American Empire was incredible. I love intellectuals. It made me want to see The Barbarian Invasions again. I mite rent it. It goes against my normal m.o. of not re-watching movies (there are so many unseen), but I am again excited about Denys Arcand's work, and I love these characters. If you haven't seen either of these rent one or both this weekend.

Tomorrow I drive up north for a wedding, so I will be M.I.A. this weekend. Sorry to all of you folks who were planning on calling me to go out at the last minute. But my weeknights are free now and I will be hitting the cinema.
Allan, let's go see Sideways or Birth or Undertow one night next week. Is that a possibility?
Wahima, if you can make it out here next week, maybe we can go catch The Incredibles.
Elizabeth, Justin, fucking call me already.


Today there was a barbecue at a place that supplies fuel to Avjet in celebration of the holidays and their new general manager. I, of course, wanted to go (free food, hello), and all of the ladies in Accounting wanted to go too, so we figured we'd all go together. So... I emailed Stephen in Operations (cute/engaged/from one of the Dakotas) when I got in at 8:30.
We're all going to the Mercury barbecue at 1300. Do you want to come?
What is that?
It's for the holidays, I guess. Free food. Barbecue. I don't really know.
I forgot my lunch today, so sure, I'll come.

Stephen is kinda shy. But the girls in accounting are outgoing and crazy, so they were teasing him and asking him questions, and they convinced him to come with us for Thai food next Friday. There has been some other (light) drama at Avjet in our department, but I come out looking swell, quite frankly. I am really fast, and the ones who work hard see this... even my enemy, the CFO.

Now I'm listening to "Little Red Corvette." So good.

10 November 2004

Foreigner Part Dos

Someone--namely me--is spending way more time on The Foreigner than he ever did on Valparaiso. Grr. Dialect work is going fine... all of their dialects are going to be okay. Most of my work right now is with Jensen and his semi-cockney dialect, but that's because his is the hardest and he has a lot of fricking lines.

Chris Gelvin made me so fucking mad today. He kept fighting me. Linda specifically said to me "fix it." She left the room and told me to fix the scene. I know how to do that. But what I don't know how to do is fight with actors... because I've never had to do it before. Chris says to me "I'm doing this because the script says to" and "Well, Linda told us this..." and "There are question marks in the script." I finally said "I want you to try this and this and this and before you start to argue, I don't want you to fight me; what I want to do is see what I just said. Go." That Jamison kid can manage this: Gelvin just can't seem to. GRRR. I am not a moron. If you let me, I can help you. Perhaps you have no idea that your scene sucks and that I am here to fix it, but everyone else knows the scene sucks, so shut up and try my suggestions and maybe they will work. Ass.

I worked 9.25 hours today at Avjet. That's a lot of money. Woo hoo. Can you say chandelier? I can.