From Writing

When It All Comes Together

I was up until 4AM this morning.

It wasn’t my fault. An attempt had been made to fall asleep sometime between 2 and 3. After that failed exercise, I found myself with two options: stare at the ceiling and grow frustrated because I couldn’t turn my mind off or get out of bed and do something useful. I chose the latter and spent roughly the next 90 minutes shifting between tutorials on how to modify/customize iDVD themes, Photoshop, and After Effects.

Earlier in the night, I celebrated a minor victory when I learned that it was possible to disable the Apple logo from appearing as a watermark in an iDVD theme, but I had a feeling more could be done. Anxious to get a feel for exactly how much customization could be done with a DVD menu in what I always perceived to be a relatively stupid program, and ready to output the next cut of Old Stud, I took it upon myself to whip up a simple design, black silhouette objects and characters that would typically be found on a porn set. The design was imported into AE, then manipulated to add some very basic animation. From there, a quicktime movie was exported. Following that, I swapped out the background in the modified iDVD theme with my own video, added one of the original Old Stud music cues, and inserted a blank DVD.

When it finished burning, I removed it from the tray and was struck by the idea that a little piece of plastic with some foil on it contained the results of all of my educational and professional experiences from the past decade. I popped it in the DVD player. Finally feeling productive, my mind started to relax, and I was able to go to sleep a content man.

Los Feliz Survival Tips (In Retrospect)

I recently took on the task of organizing all of my files and came across a piece from 2009. Why I originally wrote it escapes me, but it was possibly a piece for the long abandoned Real Bad Friend blog. You can tell that it’s a few years old because I mention renting Blu-ray discs from Blockbuster (can’t believe I used to give that company any money), as well as Cobras and Matadors (now Umami Burger). For your literary pleasure, I present:

A Return to Los Feliz – Survival Tips

Before this afternoon, it had been almost four months since set foot in Los Feliz. The occasion for today’s return to my former favorite neighborhood in Los Angeles was to be a guide of sorts to my girlfriend, who has resided on the west side of L.A. since moving here eight years ago.

During our walking tour, which covered Vermont, Hillhurst, and parts of Hollywood and Franklin, I once again fell in love with the small town center illusion that LF creates. As I reported how SkyLight Books features readings by local and visiting authors, explained how The Drawing Room opens its doors at 6 AM so that no drunk or junkie is without a place to go in the mornings, and allowed the latest merchandise in Y Que to support my thesis that the designs of the t-shirts are predictable and adhere to a basic template (”SAVE [insert latest celebrity involved in scandal here]“), my head flooded with fond memories of experiencing local culture, getting wasted, and being mildly amused, respectively.

The highlights included remembering how many risk-free movies I saw at the Los Feliz 3 theatre (matinee prices are less than the cost of renting a blu-Ray disc from Blockbuster) and the seemingly endless amounts of stimulation one can experience browsing all of the books, art, collectibles, and miscellaneous trinkets at Wacko.

While these fresh experiences and the memories they dug up elated me, the recollection of some of the people associated with these memories did not. I’ve lived in Hollywood and encountered my fair share of phonies, sycophants, and all around cocksuckers, but Los Feliz wins the prize for the highest rate of worthless people per capita, in my experience [Editor’s note: I would move back there in a heartbeat].

Nowhere else have I experienced at such a frequency multiple series of unfortunate events. Without going into too much detail, let me say that the benefit of the doubt should not enter into the equation when dealing with LF residents that seem to fit the stereotypes of the neighborhood. Here are some helpful hints to enhance your experience in this neighborhood.

  1. Don’t open a tab with a card at [REDACTED] unless you want to buy the free shots that the regulars at the other end of the bar are enjoying.
  2. Don’t hold packages or parcels for anyone. They ARE full of drugs.
  3. If someone does not return a phone call the first time, delete that person’s number.
  4. Don’t take dates to Cobras and Matadors unless you’re definitely going to get some ass or enjoy paying $40 for two beers and some olives.
  5. Don’t let strippers attach themselves to your films as producers unless you derive pleasure from giving out unearned credits.
  6. Don’t give anything but food to the homeless in the neighborhood. Give money consistently, miss a “payment” once, and you will see a human being turn into an entitled pile of shit before your very eyes.
  7. Stay away from the Latin club on Edgemont and Hollywood on Hip Hop/Gangbanger/Random Shooting themed Saturday nights.
  8. Don’t think that you will be a part of Swingers by going to The Dresden Room or The Derby.
  9. Prepare to be barraged with images of nut-hugging black jeans on guys that make the Ramones look like models.
  10. Prepare to see an overwhelming quantity of muffin tops peeking out from under t-shirts for indie bands that no one does or should ever know about.
  11. Don’t be surprised when the girl you met while hammered at any of the bars along Vermont and Hillhurst turns out to be an unemployed, alcoholic, coke fiend who will disappear when her spider senses inform them a line is being cut in a four block radius

If you have any other guidelines, I’d love to hear them.