Thursday, January 26, 2006

Adios Redondo, Aloha Hollywood

Of all the things that have happened in the last week, I would have to say the most exciting is the on-line Jeopardy test I just completed. They only offer it to LA residents, and I'm afraid it's going to be close. Thought I knew a bunch but also choked on several, including Norman Mailer's "The Naked and the Dead" which I remembered just as the clock ran out. And I just listened to an interview with him on Fresh Air discussing that book in detail. Nuts. I feel good, however, with my educated guesses that Na is the sign for sodium, that Bacardi is one of the two best-selling rums in North America, and that liposuction removes fat surgically. I'll be waiting with baited breath to hear back from Alex.

In addition to that exciting event, I signed a lease on an apartment and I pick up the keys tomorrow. The apartment is in Hollywood very near the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Ave. That's right down the street from the Hollywood walk of fame, Mann's Chinese Theater, and basically in the shadow of the Hollywood sign. It's a one-bedroom place with hardwood floors, parking, a front and a back door and it's on the ground level. It seemed like a nice place when I saw it at 3:00 in the afternoon, so I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn't turn into a crack house at night. I've been driving to that area nearly every day this week, and during rush hour it takes an hour and a half to get back down here to Redondo. Though the drive is a bit inconvenient, I really am going to miss the beach and the ocean. When the new pad is fully occupied, I'll be 10-15 minutes from most of the places I'll be going to. Nice.

I've been up there working with a guy I met through the Robinson brothers. He's an editor, mostly for reality TV, though he did just land a job to edit the documentary clips for the Academy Awards next week. He and his partner are working on a documentary themselves that they feel pretty confident about getting $150,000 in seed money from PBS to complete. He's teaching me the AVID editing system and having me do basic tasks, and if I work hard, don't fuck up, and am generally a good boy, he'll recommend me to a friend of his who's hiring assistant editors at World of Wonder, the house that just finished editing the documentary "Inside Deep Throat." So naturally nothing's for sure but at least the pot is being stirred a bit.

With all my manpower gone, it's going to suck moving all my crap myself, so it'll probably take me a few days to get everything up there. But once I do I'll have a sleeper sofa in the living room so get your asses out here and visit me!

MUSSEL UPDATE: All remaining mussels have been scanned in. Half done. Now I have to color correct them.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lean on Me

I realize that I'm stating the obvious here, but there are a lot of very slender women in L.A. True there are people of all shapes and sizes but it seems that every other female has a 24 inch waist and a blonde ponytail. Where do they all come from? Are they drawn like iron shavings to the magnetic pole that is Southern California? Is it all the sunshine that magically reduces body frames to Praying Mantis-like proportions? I can already hear how most people will repsond to this: "Danny, it's all a product of a culture that emphasizes the physical and pressures women into conforming to an unrealistic standard of beauty, a standard set by men for their own carnal gratification." This is without question true, and there are reminders everywhere here that this pressure is even more intense in L.A. than in other parts of the country. In the local weekly paper the first ten pages are devoted to ads for gyms, liposuction specialists, and a massage technique called MesoTherapy which claims to "dissolve unwanted fat" and is a "revolutionary breakthrough in fat reduction" that is a "safe, noninvasive, and effective alternative to liposuction." I have about as much faith in the efficacy of MesoTherapy as I do in herbal Viagra. Still, some of the women out here look like they could eat six helpings of corned beef hash a day for a year and still have wrists like broomsticks. There also seem to be a lot of storefront "learning centers" that teach children to read through phonetics (a la Sylvan Learning Centers). Whether these phenomena are related I have no idea.

Looked at my first apartment yesterday up near Hollywood in a neighborhood called Los Feliz. It was a nice-sized one-bedroom with hardwood floors on the ground level, very close to Griffith Park and Hollywood Blvd. Rent $930. I like the pusle up there. I sent in an application. There has also been some talk with a guy who is looking to rent loft/studio space to shoot interviews conducted by Disney execs, and I could live there as long as I keep it clean and vacate the premises when the Disney execs show up. I'll have to investigate that one a little more. I have also been offered my first graphic design job to design a letterhead. I will probably do it if it works out but that's a slippery slope - I can imagine eventually becoming swamped by design work and frankly I need to take a break from it for awhile.

I've been in LA for eight days and I have not yet seen a movie. Guess I'm going to have to bit the bullet and go alone, like David Kahane in "The Player," but hopefully I won't be murdered by an unstable studio exec afterward. That's unlikely, unless it's a random mugging, as there is not a single studio exec in this town who has even breathed my name (yet).

Monday, January 16, 2006

Beach Evacuation

Last night, my first night on my own in LA, the city of Los Angeles took an enromous dump on the beach where I'm staying. A pumping station on the Strand failed, thereby spilling more than two million gallons of raw sewage onto the sand and befouling the otherwise pristine beach. Needless to say I won't be walking on the beach in the sunrise hours for awhile. I know the timing of this is just coincidence and that the city is not trying to send me a message.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Me and My Hula Girl

Bob and Katie left for the aiport about an hour ago, so I am now officially on my own in L.A. The weekend was entertaining, educational, and exhausting. In between shopping at resale stores (bought a pair of Diesel jeans) and eating at about 20 restaurants (Greenblatt's Deli has good corned beef) Katie introduced me to a lot of her friends, all of whom are kicking ass and taking names in this town: Darlene, who's writing two scripts for Sony; Jack, whose successful acting career (look for him as an alien in an upcoming Milk campaign) is now expanding into writing/producing (just sold six episodes of a show to Lifetime); Ian, who's been editing feature films for awhile (Matrix, Herbie Reloaded, Showgirls) and is now working on a new Beyoncé/Jaime Foxx vehicle, plus a whole slew of other great folks. Everyone was nice and helpful, but as of yet I have not been offered any starring roles or gobs of money to write scripts. Which is mildly disturbing, as I thought I would have hit it big by now. The bottom line is this: I've got make my own opportunities. Basically that means writing everyday and putting myself out there, which I plan to do.

The next step is finding an apartment and finishing the job that won't end: the mussle job. For you that don't know what that is, I was given a job back in July that involves scanning in 34 rolls of color film containing photos of the freshwater mussels of Ohio. The book they will eventually appear in is creatively titled "The Mussels of Ohio." I turned in 10 rolls before leaving Columbus, so I've got a mere 24 to go. At two hours a roll, I have plenty to occupy my time for the next month or so. It will be a challenge, to say the least, to stay focused on my little bivalve friends. Wish me luck.

So now it's just me and my hula girl on the dashboard of my car. She'll be with me as I drive all over L.A. this week looking for an apartment, and if I can manage to be just a tiny bit as flexible and resolute as she is, I think things will work out fine. And I hope to get a fabulous purple skirt soon.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Eagle Has Landed

Just a note to let everyone know that we have contact,
Dan O'Dair has landed in LA. After 20 hours Columbus
to Austin to pick up my bro Bob, we logged another 22
hours from Austin to LA and pulled in last night. The
apt. in Redondo, where I'm staying, is about a block
from Rendondo Pier, where we had a late beer at a
place with 76 draft beers and megadeath on the
jukebox. Today we returned the trailer and rented some
storage space. RUBE ALERT: Perhaps some of you out there have
heard of this concept, but I had not: rentable wine
cellars. Our facility, Wesco Storage and Services of
Torrance, is not yet two years old and they have a
nice little simulacrum arched wooden cellar door in
the middle of a cinderbock wall, behind which you can
rent your own climate-controlled vault. Things are a
little--denser--out here. Tonight at dinner a
massive pregnancy conversation erupted between my
sister-in-law (pregnant) her good friend Julie
(preganant) and the waitress (used to be pregnant, now
has two kids). The waitress, whose husband is general
manager of the restaurant, told us he was in acting
class when she went into labor the second time and
needed to finish two more scenes before he could come
to the hospital. At that point I thought, I'm
definitely in LA.