Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dammit.

The lacrosse finals, huh? So no more lacrosse ever again? Feels extreme, but okay.

The downer in an otherwise excellent weekend occurred yesterday, when the Maryland lacrosse team lost the championship game in overtime.

Sports will you make you sad most of the time, so why bother being a fan?

Because the highs are so high. Once you’re bonded to a team, you get to experience all the benefits that come from it. And if it’s your alma mater, you feel a sense of belonging. In fact, there’s a shared misery in rooting that even strengthens the bonding and enhances the eventual breakthrough.

One of these years, Maryland will finish on top. And with it will come the bragging rights, status, prestige and incredible highs. Can’t wait.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Dear God,

I’ve never asked for anything except a B on that geometry test I didn’t prepare for (and thanks for that), but can you please use your divine intervention to will the Maryland lacrosse team to two more wins?
Love,
Matthew

Friday, May 27, 2016

Maxi Prices.

You can define success as the day you freely eat from the hotel minibar w/o looking at the prices.

That tiny vodka in my friend’s room last night? $37.50. We guzzled it.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Don’t Stop. And Enjoy The View.

What makes this shot of downtown all the lovelier is that I took it careening down Mulholland at 60 mph.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hittin’ The Books.

Charlie Chaplin once actually entered a contest for Charlie Chaplin look-alikes, and he came in third.

But as much as he was a knucklehead, he was also well read. And one of my favorite hangouts in LA is V Wine Bar, which used to be Charlie’s library.

Hence the books, which in true Hollywood fashion are actually just a façade. The place has great wine and beer and cheese plates. In fact, the owner, who is pictured above (and a super nice guy), just opened up V Cheese Shop around the corner. A cheese shop – a strong indication that the economy is back.

Check this place out. For the booze. For the history. For the boozery.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

And I Have A Solution.

As my friend Chad and I push through the writing process of our sitcom, one of our main edicts is to keep it unique. No clichés.

But if you insist on sticking with the familiar, I wouldn’t do that if I were you. (A phrase, by the way, that’s been used in 313 movies.)

I mean, you just don’t get it, do you? (222 times.) You look like shit (657) doing it. Just turn in your badge. (51.)

Houston, we’ve got a problem. (91.) We’ve got company. (451.) Forgive me if I’m out of line (143) here, but I’m able to write and keep it original. Our show’s premise? I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you (22.)

End scene. This blog entry is thanks in part to my friend Jason, who turned me on to QuoDB.com. Search for any quote, and see how many times it’s been used. And then don’t use it.

Monday, May 23, 2016

And We’re Back.

Some people will only watch a football game if it’s ten minutes long and accompanied by 30 minutes of riveting drama in a small Texas town.

Not me. Give me a full slate of games. On Saturday, I did the PA announcing once again for the local kid’s Super Bowl. Here’s what I learned:
  1. After the Penn State scandal, a boys football team called the Nittany Lions is a bit disconcerting. 
  2. There is crying in football. Lots and lots of crying. 
  3. Parents, if your kid has a last name that’s really hard to pronounce, don’t get butthurt if I pronounce it wrong. 
  4. It’s always fun when a parent thinks I’m favoring one team over another. Uh, I don’t have a kid, let alone a kid in your game. You tell me who I’m rooting for because I frankly don’t know. Also: you’re a delight.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Genius.

By the elevators in this building, next to a discarded piece of Kit Kat bar.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Flashback Friday.

NYC – December, 2015. Threat acknowledged.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Mr. Lucky.

When I first met Ricky, he was 5 ½ weeks old, living outside, had been sprayed by a skunk, and was so filthy I thought the color of his fur was brown.

Now he lives by the beach, sleeps on a memory foam mattress and has the entire Mets infield scratching his back.

He was dealt a bad hand, but he sure did play his cards right.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Saw This Guy Yesterday, And Thought Of An Opening To A Sketch. Feel Free To Steal It.

FRANK GARCIA, 51, crossing guard, sits patiently on a bus bench in the morning sun, holding a stop sign. 

A bus approaches, but rolls past him, and Frank holds up his arms – and the stop sign. The bus comes to a stop. He gets on, swipes his card, and sits. 

Cut to Frank getting off the bus. He walks down a sidewalk in a busy neighborhood, passing an older man, who clutches his heart as his pacemaker stops. 

As he walks past a landscaper using a very loud leafblower, the leafblower stops. The landscaper checks the on/off switch. 

Frank turns into the walkway of a garden apartment building, passing a yappy Jack Russell, who suddenly quiets and sits. Frank enters his apartment, puts his stop sign on a coffee table, picks up a remote and turns on the midday news. 

NEWS ANCHOR VO 
For the first time in history, 
there is peace in the Middle East.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What The What?

With all the chatter and hold-me-backs, baseball fights are more like scenes from West Side Story.

But on Sunday, Rougned Odor, second baseman for the Texas Rangers, became the exception:

That jaw belongs to José Bautista of the Blue Jays, a future hall of famer. I’m a Yankee fan, so I don’t root for him, but I do respect him. (Though I spent most of yesterday thinking that if he’s gonna go into second with his cleats up, he may deserve what’s coming.)

But then last night José Bautista inexplicably started following me on Twitter. I had no idea why. Does he read my blog? Maybe. Did he attend one of the two Toronto film festivals that accepted my featurette? Not a chance. What gives?

I asked my friend Rob, a sportswriter. His response: “He did get cold-cocked the other day. May still be woozy.”

Right. Either way, huge fan.

Monday, May 16, 2016

In Which I Attend Birthday Celebrations For Three Different People – None Of

Women love their birthday. It is YOUR day. Guys are like “Sweet – I didn’t die from anything stupid this year.”

I spent my birthday as the accidental birthday boy, attending nice parties for other people. Like my friends Jeff and Beth, a couple who both had birthdays last week, and threw a really great party with incredible food, including the tiniest sliders you could ever eat twelve of.

Thanks to this spread, I didn’t break my month of May abstinence from sugar – I demolished it.

Even though I didn’t have candles to blow out, my wish was granted, as I spent four hours at my niece’s birthday party super-soaking my nephew.

Friday, May 13, 2016

It’s My Birthday Tomorrow.

If your gift says “from Mom and Dad”, you just know Dad has absolutely no idea what’s inside it.

Not a problem for me, because I always ask people to not buy me gifts, and instead support the movies/TV shows/restaurants I love, so they continue to prosper. Here’s this year’s list:
  • The movie Me & Earl & the Dying Girl 
  • The TV show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” 
  • Ice cream cake 
  • The dorados crispy, rolled potato tacos at Petty Cash 
  • JetBlue Airways 
  • The Maryland men’s lacrosse team 
  • Mulberry Street Pizza 
  • American Tire Depot in Hermosa Beach 
  • Dr. Matthew Kaufman, DDS 
  • Los Angeles 
  • Jeff Vincent, the handsome hippy dog walker

Thursday, May 12, 2016

One Last Story Hour.

I had a friend whose seven-year-old kid Googled the word “naked” once. The first picture he saw was a woman with asparagus in her vagina and up her butt. That’s just too much to handle. How are we going to get him to eat his vegetables now? 

That’s a snippet from Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please. I wanted to share her unquestionable writing talent one last time, as I finished the book yesterday. (Yes, it took a while – I only have time to read on the elliptical at the gym.) It’s 327 pages, but a great book can never be long enough.

Okay, one more passage. Amy’s thoughts on being an actor. I wish I was this lucid:

Acting is the best. When things go well, you get the most credit. If you are in a great film or play everyone just assumes you did it on your own. Your face becomes a symbol for all things good and cool. Athletes nod at you. People interview you and describe in great detail how you “entered a room.” Acting lets you escape the real world and make out with people you are not married to. It lets you live in the skin of another person and run away from the person you actually are. Sometimes it heals old wounds and helps you discover something new about yourself. At its best, it’s a true form of communication, and your performance changes lives and minds and gender roles and the core temperature of Mother Earth. But here’s what no one in the biz will tell you. When you’re the actor, you have little control. You audition for parts and deal with constant rejection. On set, everyone sits behind a monitor and whispers when you don’t get it right. Your attractive yet interesting face better be shine-free and symmetrical as you try to remember your lines and blocking. Also, acting is embarrassing. It ain’t easy to get up in front of people and really go for it. Good actors make acting look easy, which means most people think they can do it. Most people can’t.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

He’ll Be Back.

Statistics say panic attacks most commonly affect two careers: actors and hospital residents, because we have to instantly go from structure to all hell breaking loose.

So we’ve got that going for us.

One of my favorite actors is my friend Ariel. We help each other out with auditions (the above pic is him coaching me last night), and are the first people we call right after we audition. He’s an excellent friend, and a super talented. But, he’s currently going through his annual “I’m done with acting” riff, and claims this time it’s for real.

Sure, the grind got to him, but there’s nothing more fun than acting. There’s no better rush than getting a call that you booked a role. And nothing like being on the set. It’s one of the few professions that allow you to be great.

It’s the bee’s knees. And Ariel will be back. He’s a damn good actor, but I’m just not buying him in this retirement role.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Help Me Pick Out My New Swimsuit.

My nephew’s strongest event at swim meets is announcing within earshot of his opponents that he thinks he just pooped a little in his swimsuit.

Needless to say he’ll never borrow mine. Especially the one I’m about to buy. Orlebar Brown now lets you design your own swim trunks using your favorite photos. Options below.

Me, in a bathing suit, on a bathing suit. Very meta.

The Antithesis. Me furiously shoveling snow in New York. A perfect reminder of hell while on a sunny LA beach.

Me, nine months old. That way, if cold water causes shrinkage, I’ll still appear comparatively larger.

Or, I go with an even tinier peep: Ricky, six weeks old.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Jason From The Block.

I’m trying to get my mom to move to LA. So I can move in with her.

Kidding, Mom – stay in NY. I like being able to visit. 

My mother still lives in the house I grew up in, in a suburb of NYC called Rye. Over the weekend, I saw a new movie called The Family Fang, directed by and starring Jason Bateman. In the middle of the film, a couple of locations looked very familiar, and I realized they were Playland, an amusement park in Rye, and its adjoining beach. Then I remembered Jason Bateman lived in Rye until he was four. Cool to see him go back and shoot.

Playland, by the way, served as the location in the movie Big in which the fortune teller machine turns Tom Hanks young again. It was nice growing up by it, until a bus line was set up to let kids from the Bronx come out to the park, and our bikes started disappearing from our garages.

You know what, Mom – come out as soon as you like.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Waze Royalty!

Of course, like Caesar’s chariot driver whispered in his ear: all glory is fleeting.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Feel Better, Sir.

The last thing I wanted to wake up to yesterday was news that my friend Warren had had a stroke.

He’s too young a man and too nice a guy. We’ve known each other since birth – our dads went to school together – and I consider his family the cousins we never had.

Warren is a real selfless dude. He’s planning on moving from Connecticut to Florida this month, so that he can be closer to his parents, and so that his daughter, who’s had some health issues of her own, can live in a warmer climate.

I messaged his mom late yesterday, and she said he’s thankfully doing better. That’s a relief.

And that said, Warren, you didn’t need to have a stroke to prove how much you want to move to Florida. We get it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Instant Man Crush.

A game-worn Johns Hopkins lacrosse helmet. Next to my dog and my blood diamonds, it’s the first thing I’d grab in a fire.

It actually belongs to my new neighbor. He and his girlfriend moved in above me on Saturday, and when I saw his lacrosse gear in my garage, I knew we would get along famously. I’m a big lacrosse fan, and went to his school’s rival – Maryland – and both of my brothers played college lacrosse. In fact, right as I asked my neighbor who he played for, Maryland was playing Johns Hopkins on ESPN.

So the lesson is: all you have to do if you want to borrow a cup of sugar from me (or WiFi, which he is) is play a Division 1 sport. Get after it.

30 Seconds Of April.

With temps still in the 30s, I’d normally never run video in New York in April. It’s practically a PTSD flashback.

 But this trip included the Yankee opening day, and a nap with Ollie Shevin. It had to be recorded. Plus the rest of the month was exceptional. Take a look:

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Last Supper.

Yes, life is meaningless, but some of the food is decent.

That’s Ricky, trying to scarf my two double-doubles, well-done fries and milkshake Saturday.

And yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Venice Ale House, watching these two fellas order like a boss: the skateboard beer flight.

Thus begins May, in which a group of friends and I have decided to give up sugar for the month. (The milkshake was my one last bump before rehab.) We’re charting our progress, and opting for varying degrees of abstention – I’m giving up blatantly sugary things, but will still eat fruit every day. My nightly sugar jones will not be appeased. May God have mercy on my soul.