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Tuesday, September 30, 2003  

Modest Mouse Help
Right before I left Santa Cruz I was given a burned copy of a Modest Mouse CD by either Andrew of John P. I found it today and tried to import it through iTunes, but it couldn't recognize the track listing, and I have had no luck figuring out what disc it is. I am strangely anal about the tagging of all my digital music and would really like to know a track listing for this disc! It has 13 tracks and the first 5 have the following track times: 5:43, 4:08, 4:30, 6:35, and 7:01. This leads me to believe that it is an incomplete version of "This is a long drive for someone with nothing to think about." But that album has 16 tracks. Can the party that gave me this disc give me any info on track titles?

posted by JMV | 9/30/2003 01:04:00 AM

Monday, September 29, 2003  

Under the Knife
In response to a conversation with my mom last night abut what exactly happened to Mickey Rourke's face, it was indeed bad plastic surgery. And boxing....

posted by JMV | 9/29/2003 03:15:00 PM

Lost in Translation
Got to see the new Sophia Coppola film, Lost in Translation which stars Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson. The film centers around two depressed Americans alone in Tokyo who find comfort in each others company. It is simultaneously hysterical and touching, and wonderfully directed by Sophia. She is a seriously talented filmmaker and a gifted writer. The film is full of little perfect moments, both emotional and comical, which reminds me a lot of a Was Anderson film (which is high praise coming from me!) In fact she thanks Wes Anderson in the credits (can anyone tell me the connection between the two?) It was beautifully shot by Lance Acord who often works with Sophia's husband Spike Jonze; the film has a unique visual style that captures both the panorama of Tokyo and the minutiae of the films central hotel location (which serves as the main characters prison-like home) Bill Murray is exceptional as the aging actor unhappy at home in LA, and miserable in his hotel in Tokyo. He is truly a brilliant comedic actor. I highly recommend the film to anyone a little burnt out from all the big action flix of the past few months.

After the movie we went back to my mothers house and talked about movies over a bottle of wine. Movies have always been a important aspect of my relationship with my mom, and tonight highlighted that. I have seen a million movies with my mom and I love to talk film with her over coffee (or wine) afterwards. And tonight I discovered that, apart from "O Brother Where Art Though," my mom hasn't seen a single Coen Brothers movie. I revere the Coens, and they have made some of my all time favorite films. So I immediately made her a list of movies to add to her Netflix que. While we were talking the subject of "Desert Island" movies came up, which are (obviously) the movies you would want if you were stranded on desert island with one of those portable DVD players. I like this quandary much more than the impossible to answer "what are you favorite films" because a favorite film isn't necessarily one that I could watch daily. So, look forward to my list of 5 (or 10 if I can't narrow it down) desert island movies in the near future.

posted by JMV | 9/29/2003 12:20:00 AM

Saturday, September 27, 2003  

I just realized that I never followed up with any thoughts about the soot... So here goes. After the first couple of days things seemed to get better. I think my body just wasn't ready for the level of exertion required for 12 hour days. Over all it was a really good experience, and I hopefully made some good contacts. The hardest thing, besides the hours, was trying to keep up with all the lingo. My first rule is to always look like I know what I'm doing, which is hard when you get asked for a "platypus" and a "beaver board" in the span of five minuets. It reminds me of the old commercial for the Calendar section of the LA Times that used to run before movies like 10 years ago, where the PA gets asked to get the Best Boy a "spinner" which ends up being a coffee stir stick. A would like to put together a glossary of film terms on this site, but until then, a platypus is a pair of vice-grips with big flat metal jaws that is made to hold on to bounce board, and a beaver board is a 1/8 "apple box" with a stud for a light screwed onto it...

In other news, I have my first interview on Wednesday for an admin assistant position at an office in Hollywood. I know next to nothing about the job or the employer, so it should be interesting...

Wil Wheaton has a Post about poker that really belongs on Paulie's Poker Blog. Maybe poker-blogs will be the next big thing! Wil talks about bonding with his step-son over cards and not over catch. I have similar memories with my father. He also used to teach me a bunch of cool parlor bets. Ask me and I'll show you some time.
Actually I used to play a lot of cards with my mom too. From crazy eights to gin to poker. And speaking of my mom, Jules and I are driving down to Sunset Beach to visit with he tomorrow, and hopefully we will get a chance to catch "Lost in Translation" or "Matchstick Men" with her!

And Finally, drunkards everywhere take note: the tequila wars are a-brewin'.

posted by JMV | 9/27/2003 11:56:00 PM

Friday, September 26, 2003  

Hail to the Thief
Just returned from Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl! It was a great show, and we had a blast! The Bowl is walking distance from our apartment, which made the whole experience very laid-back and cool. And walking down Highland past Hollywood Blvd it really hit me that I now live in the big city! We arrived at the venue around eight, and missed the opening act's (Supergrass) set, but we got to our seats and not 2 minuets later Radiohead came out and started their two hour set with 2+2=5 from the new album. They really rocked the house, and Thom Yorke's stage presence was really energetic and fun. The set list centered around "Hail to the Thief" with a healthy dose of "OK Computer." They transitioned between the highly textured and electronic material with the paired down Yorke-on-piano numbers, while the light show added to the whole experience, seemingly strobing and pulsating to the energy of the crowd instead of just the music. The high point was defiantly Karma Police during the second encore. Say what you will about the song, but it was what first drew me to the band, and their performance of it was incredible! Hearing eighteen thousand people quietly singing along while Thom played the piano was magical. And they followed that up with one of my top 3 favorite Radiohead songs: Everything in its Right Place, which they drew out into a nearly 10 minute epic of feedback and tonal dissonance. Fucking brilliant! It was the best show I have been to where most of my favorite songs weren't played, and the 2 hour set went by way too fast, but I walked away with new some new favorite songs (and a couple of kick ass shirts!) Over all the show exceeded my expectations, which were very high, and I wish I had tickets for tomorrows show.

posted by JMV | 9/26/2003 01:18:00 AM

Friday, September 19, 2003  

Day One
When I was originally contacted about this PA gig that I'm working, the UPM (thats Unit Production Manager, basically the person who organizes all the different departments for the shoot) assured me there would only be 8 hour days. I knew that was BS, but she seemed sincere so I figured, hell maybe they will only be 10 hour days. I arrived on set at 6:45 and drove off set at 6:45. But I had to drop off the nearly 4000 feet of film that was shot today at the lab, so by the time I was at my house it was 9:15. That makes my door to door time 16 hours. It was also the hardest day of work I've ever had in my life. Every muscle in my body hurts, and I don't even want to think about how they will feel tomorrow morning as I attempt to haul my ass out of bed for the 7am call. Tomorrow should be very interesting because I am "on-loan" to the grip department, so I'm not too sure what I'll be doing. On my lengthy drive home I was planning out a detailed blog post about how a set works, and what the different people do, but I've fucking tired so I'll save it for another time. So I'll just give my general feeling about the day. PA is a hard job, and this production has shown me how little I actually know about real productions. I feel very much like a small fish in a big pond.

Oh and one of the stars of the film is Melanie Brown.

posted by JMV | 9/19/2003 11:32:00 PM

Thursday, September 18, 2003  

Why Do They Call Them "Guinea Pigs?"
I got a call from the UPM for the shoot tomorrow, and the call time is 6:45 in Malibu. Which means I have to be out the door by 5:30. At lease I'll be home early, if it is indeed only an 8 hour day (though I imagine it will be more like 10.) Hopefully craft-services will be good... In other news, researchers have discovered the fossilized remains of a cow-sized rodent relative of the guinea pig. Cow sized! Mmmm giant guinea pig burgers.

posted by JMV | 9/18/2003 10:10:00 PM

Wednesday, September 17, 2003  

Its Like War of the Worlds
Ready for some more excuses? I've been lagging on the blog for a few days because I've been as sick as the preverbal dog with an absolutely wicked cold. I thought I was about over it last night, and decided to try sleeping without the aid of my beloved Nyquil knock-off. That proved to be a bad idea and I feel like shit today. The worst part about the cold is the nasty hacking cough and the nasty stuff that I keep hacking up, but I'll spare you the gory details. Jules was infected with a similar cold a couple of months ago on one of our preliminary trips to LA, so my prevailing theory is the City itself is trying to kill us off. Good luck bitch, I'm not going down without a fight!

Uhm... Yeah. Anyway... So I've been laying low for the past couple of days trying to get the better of the bug because Friday is my first on-set job! I'm be working as a PA on a short film for five days, and possibly working as a grip for a couple of those days. I'm quite excited and nervous about the gig since it is my first shoot down here, and it is 35mm! My goal is to show up and wow the producer, the DP, and the Key Grip with my mad on-set skills and my trademark vest-of-many-pockets, and hopefully this gig will lead to others in the near future!

posted by JMV | 9/17/2003 08:43:00 PM

Monday, September 15, 2003  

Wired.com on Astrological Phenom
Wired.com has an article about Mercury's Retrograde movement and its effects on computers and technology. Since Mercury is seen as the planet of messengers, Business deals, and verbal agreements, its seeming reversal of direction in the night sky has been heralded by astrologers as a time of miscommunications and misunderstandings. My mother is always first to point out that "Mercury is in retrograde" whenever there is a disagreement or SNAFU during the planets thrice yearly reversal. The Wired article explains that a lot of people also feel that Mercury greatly effects telecommunications and computers and its retrograde movement can cause all kinda of wacky and unforeseen operations. Say what you will about astrology, but my e-mail accounts have been acting up for the past couple of days for no good reason. Mercury returns to its "forward" movement on the 20th of this month so until you might just want to watch your ass on verbal agreements and business dealings. I'm not telling you that Mercury DOES fuck with us, but It don't hurt to be careful.

One last thing: While I don't generally subscribe to the tenants of astrology, I certainly don't outright dismiss them either. I have a hard thinking that the moon has the power to move the oceans but doesn't effect humans as individuals. Science is one thing, but I think it is pretty damn conceded of us to think we understand the workings of the universe. Astrophysics begins to sound a whole lot like new age drivel when you get right down to it. It just has the "math" to back it up.

posted by JMV | 9/15/2003 08:16:00 PM

Man With Too Much Time Helps Others Pass Theirs
Saw a story on Boing-Boing today about a guy who decided to see how much ink is in a Sharpie by labeling a bunch of CDRs until the pen ran dry. It took him 2 months and nearly 1000 CDs before the Sharpie gave up the ghost. When I was first looking at the site I thought it was perhaps the lamest web-vanity project I had seen, but about half way through his account I was hooked. I spend the rest of the afternoon reading all 34 other "How much is inside" projects on the site. Some of my favorites are: "A Million Dollars", "A Print Cartridge", and "Cherrios". But by far the best addition is "How much is inside a Chevy Trailblazer" where Rob attempts to win a Union n76 gas station contest by guessing how many antenna balls fit inside a Trailblazer with surprising results! What makes Rob's accounts of his wacky experiments so fun to read is a combination of silly ideas approached from quasi-scientific perspective, lots of goofy pictures, and witty writing. I haven't yet spent any time on the rest of his site for fear of losing even more time, but I highly recommend reading his reports on how much stuff is in stuff. And next time I'm bored on a Friday night I think I'll invite some people over for some wacky experiments of our own.

posted by JMV | 9/15/2003 02:44:00 PM

Friday, September 12, 2003  

More Depp Thoughts
Now that the reviews for Once Upon a Time in Mexico have hit the street I though I would comment on the trend, since Pirates, of every critic in America commenting on Depp's charismatic scene stealing performances. Every review for both Pirates and Mexico that I have read has mentioned Depp stealing scenes, many of them sound surprised by this. Haven't these people seen "Ed Wood," "Donnie Brassco," or "Don Juan DeMarco?" Why has it taken the media so damn long to realize that Depp is perhaps one of the best actors working today? Of course he steals scenes! The man is a freaking chameleon. His range is mind-boggling (watch "Blow" for a good example) and he has made a history of upstaging legendary and Oscar winning actors. I'm happy to see the man finally get the respect that he deserves, and am excited about the roles that he will get offered now that he is a certified box-office draw!

posted by JMV | 9/12/2003 01:46:00 PM

Thank God They Aren't In Charge Anymore
The Brits are an odd bunch. One of them just finished a 10+ day journey across London rolling a nut to Tony Blair's doorstep with his nose. It was in protest of student debt. Or something.

posted by JMV | 9/12/2003 01:31:00 PM

Black Day
Yesterday both Johnny Cash and John Ritter died. Cash's death wasn't unexpected, but Ritter's sure came as surprise! For the past few years I have dreamed of making a movie with an aging John Ritter in it and resurrecting his career, a la Travolta is Pulp Fiction, but now that dream is dead. I think we should spend the day watching Three's Company and listening to the Man in Black.

posted by JMV | 9/12/2003 12:56:00 PM

The Summer of Depp Continues
Tomorrow is opening day for "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," the sequel to "Desperado" that stars Antonio Banderas and Johnny Depp. Just finished watching Desperado again and am even more excited about seeing the movie tomorrow! We have been in LA for three weeks (!!) and haven't yet gone to the movies, so it will be good to go out to the theater again. I just noticed that Pirates of the Caribbean is STILL in the top five at the box office, and has grossed nearly 300 million in the US alone so far. Hopefully this will mean the return of pirates to American cinema. All in all I was pretty disappointed with this summer's crop of flicks though. Pirates and the Matrix were really the only stand-out films for me. At least the fall/winter season looks to be more promising.

posted by JMV | 9/12/2003 12:38:00 AM

Wednesday, September 10, 2003  

An Omen?
My temp assignment was unexpectedly cut short this morning. I arrived late due to traffic (1:15 commute) and then got a call on my cell from my employment agency. About 5 minuets later another person from a different office of the agency called and informed me that Lip Ink would no longer need my services due to me receiving "personal calls." I explained that the only call I received was from the employment agency, but that didn't seem to matter. So about half an hour after getting there I started driving home. after about another 45 mins on the road I was cresting a hill about when I saw a rainbow. It spouted from the quickly dissipating marine layer and arced faintly across the sky. It seemed to end 1/2 a mile south of the base of the Hollywood hills, exactly on top of my apartment building. I got home and checked for the Pot o' Gold, but only found Jules asleep in bed. Close enough.

posted by JMV | 9/10/2003 05:49:00 PM

I'm Back Baby!
Ok. I think I am done with my little self-imposed blogging hiatus. Things are pretty crazy in Hollywood, but I'm starting to feel like I've got a handle on things again. Today was my first temp-assignment, working in the Shipping department of Lip Ink a company that makes "Semi-permanent" make-up. The job is pretty dull and mindless, and it pays pretty crappy, but at least I don't feel totally useless. I'm seriously going to try getting back to one post a day, but bear with me for the next week or so as I get back in the habit. My buddy Jason from The Mighty Argos has been having similar uncertainties about his blog, and blogging in general, and I can only assume Andrew has been having similar issues (or he is just overwhelmed by the kidlings..) I think it is important to keep on trucking, and post even on days I don't feel like it. Something small, poorly written, and meaningless is better than no updates.

posted by JMV | 9/10/2003 12:29:00 AM

Wednesday, September 03, 2003  

Ikea Names DO Mean Stuff!
This site breaks down each type of Ikea furniture and where they get the names for them. Lots of the names are places around Scandinavia.

posted by JMV | 9/03/2003 10:34:00 PM

Tuesday, September 02, 2003  

Puzzle Pieces
Well, I'm a few thousand dollars lighter, but at least I now have a car (which means I can now get a job!) Julie and I drove up to Burbank to a small family run used lot and picked up a 1999 Hyundai Accent. I want to get a license plate frame that says, "My other car is a Hyundai Accent..." The new Hyundai is silver and 2 door, and luckily the styling is considerably different than Hwang (Julie's Accent.) I got the car out-the-door for a HAIR more than I wanted, but the milage was low, so I figured I would go for it. It doesn't have AC, but hopefully I will be able to live without that "luxury," or I will just live in sweaty traffic hell until my next car. They had a '93 Nissan Sentra for the same price WITH AC, but it had nearly three times the miles, so I figured I would play it safe. They also had a '93 Nissan 240SX for three grand that was really tempting, but I figured I had been down that road once... (and it had 130K miles which is about the breaking point of a lot of stuff on that car IIRC.) I will post pictures of the new addition later today (or maybe tomorrow morning...) and I'm also looking for name suggestions. So far we have "Stone Pony" and "Shadowfax" in the running...

posted by JMV | 9/02/2003 02:53:00 PM

Bloggers and Authenticity
The internet is an inherently anonymous environment, and blogging sometimes suffers from this anonymity. A lot of energy is wasted in discussion about the authenticity of particularly interesting blogs (Salam Pax's "Where is Raed" comes to mind.) I'm sure there are plenty of example of blogs being written by PR and marketing people, and I think that blogs could be a powerful tool for Madison Ave. Is this blog for real? If it IS, some guy is blogging his experience with the ubiquitous "penis enlarging pills" that you get e-mailed about daily. Complete with measurements, and thankfully no pictures (yet.) Or is it just another attempt at selling 21st century snake oil?

posted by JMV | 9/02/2003 03:19:00 AM

Bring on the Fall Movies!
This month looks to bring relief from the August box-office doldrums with a slew of exciting and hip action movies before everything gets serious for the Oscar season. Everything from an independently produced horror film starring cult icon Bruce Campbell, to a slick Hollywood action-horror flick, to the epic sequel featuring Johnny Depp, to eagerly awaited foreign fare, which I am happy to say was re-worked and will be presented with subtitles!

posted by JMV | 9/02/2003 02:16:00 AM

Neglecting my Duties
I feel bad that I've been slacking on my posting duties lately. I've been feeling pretty damn overwhelmed with the whole relocation lately. It has all been very emotionally taxing (which for some reason I wasn't fully expecting.) Julie and I went car shopping today but were unsuccessful at finding anything we could afford at a dealer. I've got to get something SOON so that I can get a job... I can't believe that I have been unemployed for a month now! I've been having anxiety attacks pretty regularly ever morning, which let me tell you is a shitty way to start the day. But I promise that once I feel a little more settled in, I'll resume a more regular posting schedule.

posted by JMV | 9/02/2003 01:56:00 AM
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