Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Terminal Goodness.

At the airport last week, I heard a guy’s laptop say “you’ve got mail”. I was pretty sure I’d landed in 1998.

He may not have his shit together, but LAX does. I happened to fly the same weekend Delta and JetBlue were swapping terminals. It was a feat that required 170 movers to transport everything across the airport, including 3000 computers.

Not only did they get it done, but by the time I landed back in LA on Tuesday, all of the new signage was up. I have to hand it to LAX – they really came through. Anticipating several confused passengers, they posted dozens of workers positioned who would approach unprompted and ask if you needed any help.

Inside, workers in “RELAX WHILE WE RE(DO) LAX” branded shirts handed out free bottles of fancy, pressed juices, and packs of cookies. That’s how it’s done.

 Let this be a lesson: I will put up with any level of inconvenience if you serve me juice and cookies.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Weekend Impediments.

First, I had an obstructed view of the Maryland lacrosse game.

Then, not fully-recovered from serious laryngitis, I did a scene in a casting workshop for seven casting directors. Here are their comments, emailed to me later in the day: “natural and fun... believable... great chemistry... very funny in scene... loved this scene for you.” Yeah, I play hurt.

I’ve come to realize: obstacles are there to help you realize whether you really want something, or just think you do.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Genius.

Purchase $250,000 car. Paint it camouflage. Stop making payments.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

In Which Everything I Love Has To Die.

I was once sitting in a movie theater when a trailer ended with “November 20th”, and a guy loudly said, “That’s my birthday!” A random guy said “happy birthday”.

That was the best trailer ever. I only like them in small doses, which is so not AMC Theaters’ philosophy. You’ll sit through a half hour of commercials and trailers before the movie you came to see finally begins. If Costco built a movie theater, this would be it.

It’s why my friends and I pay extra to see films at ArcLight and Sundance Cinema. But yesterday, I found out the Sundance Cinema on Sunset Blvd. had changed to an AMC Theater. I leave for one weekend, and all hell breaks lose.

Sundance was such a great place. My movie, The Beneficiary, screened there when it was the Laemmle Theater, and then Robert Redford bought the Laemmle, threw $2 million at it, and spiffed it up into a really nice theater. It had real food and drinks and coffee, which you could take into your movie and place on the large side-tables between every fourth seat.

Rather than ushering you the hell out after your movie ended, the staff encouraged you to stay and hang – maybe have a drink at the unnamed bar – which is now named MacGuffins – which sounds like a theme restaurant, if the theme is “Mario Lopez”.

All I can hope is that this AMC continues to show more independent films, like my favorite movie from last year, Don’t Think Twice. If not, I may take to drinking. Anywhere but MacGuffins.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Departure.

Yesterday, there was a woman on my plane going on vacation with a cat in a carrier. Because cats love surprises, travel and unfamiliar surroundings.

My vacation is over. It was short, but it was concentrated full of goodness. I’m losing my voice as I type this, which means A) I must have had fun, and B) I’m basically every woman’s dream right now.

Back to work, I whispered softly.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Belated Mother’s Day Blog Entry.

I’d like to have a brunch buffet at my funeral, so people will be happy. But with soy bacon and chia seed pancakes, so they know it’s a time to grieve.

Mother’s Day was extra happy, with a yummy buffet at L’Escale, and a table on the water. According to my Fitbit, I walked 1,787 steps back and forth to the buffet, so I got that going for me.

The best thing you can get your mom is a bouquet of things she can watch die. My mom got an impressive amount of them.

Monday, May 15, 2017

How I Spent My Birthday, By Matt Shevin.

Celebrating my birthday in my favorite place on earth in totally kickass seats? Kisses fingers. Perfecto.

Actually, the day belonged to Derek Jeter, whose number was retired in a pregame ceremony.

The first rule of delivering a speech is to keep it short, which Derek did. The second rule, and I learned this the hard way: best men should never say, “ See you at his next wedding.”

The tickets came thanks to my younger brother, who has serious pull in New York. Seats in the Legends section are $2400 apiece, but last night they were going for several times that amount. They come with access all night to a fancy restaurant below the stands, and all the food is included. The cheese for this parmesan risotto was being melted in an actual cheese wheel. Hot dogs it ain’t.

Forget the five World Series rings – appearing on dessert is the greatest accomplishment you can garner.

You ladies haven’t had the pleasure of peeing into a stadium trough. But in the very tony Legends section, the bathrooms have mirrors with monitors built in. The complete antithesis of enduring another dude’s back-splash.

Friday, May 12, 2017

My Birthday Registry.

Life tip: buy a birthday card with your morning bottle of wine. People will think it’s a gift.

Some people hate birthdays, some people love them. I’m in the “love” camp. I like that we each get a day that belongs to us, a day when the rest of the world owes us right of way.

So for my special day, which is this Sunday, I would like to request you frequent, use, download or consume the following of my favorite things, to ensure they do robust business and stick around a while:
  • Airline: JetBlue 
  • Birthday cake: ice cream cake 
  • Restaurant: Son of a Gun 
  • TV show: Brooklyn Nine-Nine 
  • Movie: Don’t Think Twice 
  • XM channel: 43 – Backspin 
  • Podcast: The Adam Carolla Show 
  • Book: Yes Please, by Amy Poehler 
  • Mobile app: Waze 
  • Dog breed: Pit Bull 
  • Toilet paper: over the top 
  • Rookie of the Year: Aaron Judge 
  • City: Los Angeles 
  • Pie: chicken pot 
  • Cereal: Golden Grahams 
  • Candy: Tree Hugger gum balls 
  • Comedian: Bo Burnham 
  • Role Model: George Clooney

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Perfect Storm.

I don’t know what you’re doing for your mom on Mother’s Day, but it should be her laundry.

You owe her. I mean, mothers may get a day, but sharks get a whole week.

 I’m going to go the extra mile – 3000 miles, in fact – and visit her. Sunday is the rarest of trifectas – Mother’s Day, my birthday and Derek Jeter’s number is being retired by the Yankees. (Okay, that may also be why I’ll be in New York, because I’m going to the game.) Derek Jeter chose Sunday because he wanted it to be extra special for his mom. Top that.

Speaking of perfect storms, it’s of course supposed to rain Sunday, because it rains every day in New York. I really hope it doesn’t, because I really, really want to go to the game. I attended the last game of Derek Jeter’s career, in Boston, and I feel like I owe him.

Don’t send happy birthday thoughts my way – send happy weather thoughts. I promise I’ll write you the best thank-you note since my Bar Mitzvah.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

You Drew First Blood, Arizona.

Funny you should mock LA traffic, Arizona, considering your state flower is pavement.

You’re loaded with retirees, so of course you have no bumper-to-bumper traffic. They don’t do more than 35 mph.

And that is one my-t-fine premise there, that we have to travel 600 miles to ride horses. It’s not as if Burbank, completely zoned for horse riding, is seven miles from your billboard in Hollywood.

But at least you’re consistently 120 degrees. Like Vegas, minus the casinos and fun. You’re got a bunch of angry, old white people who are literally being cooked to death.

But oh! Horses! Be there tonight.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

British, And Yet Delicious.

If I worked at a restaurant, I’d be planting fake engagement rings in every woman’s food, just to see boyfriends panic.

 For now, I’m simply a patron. And my friends and I tried a great new restaurant in Hollywood called Birch. The name is a nod to the chef’s hometown in England, where he grew up near a copse of birch trees. I like the piece of branch stitched to the menu. By the way, a “copse” is a British word for a small group of trees. Use it three times and it’s yours.

My new choice for a last meal is Birch’s lobster ravioli. It replaces the McRib, which is only available every six months, and would have bought me some time.

The proof is the milk pudding. And by “proof”, I mean wafers, chocolate ice cream and meringues. It’s four desserts in one – in one belly, that is.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Put On Your Rented Party-Shoes.

I’ll call bowling a sport when they add a goalie.

But I didn’t mind taking on driving duties to my niece’s 13th birthday party at Bowlero on Saturday.

I’ll say this about Bowlero: after they took over El Dorado Lanes, they threw money at the place. Nice atmosphere, cool bar, great music, and live TV playing on big screens above the pins, including the NHL playoffs and original Guardians of the Galaxy.

Millennials may be a total wash, but I feel very good about Generation Z. My niece’s friends were mature, polite, and supportive – two of them even baked her a birthday cake. Not a bad first day as a teenager.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Playing This Weekend.

This guy told me he was a Guardian of the Galaxy, which I thought was really cool until I realized he was a security guard with a Samsung phone.

Time to hang with the “real” guardians: Guardians of the Galaxy 2, tonight at ArcLight, for my friend Bru’s birthday. It’ll be followed by dinner out – a perfect Friday in LA.

Saturday is my niece’s birthday party, and Sunday I plan on running 86 miles to make up for all the junk I’ll eat on Saturday.

Meet you back here Monday.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Two Martin Short Moments.

I’ve been busy lately, working on my new book, How to Get Through Life Without Reading.

I’m admittedly not a big reader, but I am in the middle of and do love Martin Short’s autobiography. I wanted to share a couple of stories.

The first is about Mike Nichols, who, before becoming the director of classics like The Graduate and The Birdcage, was a comedy performer, and Martin’s childhood idol:
Mike is the one person, of all the many famous figures I’ve met, of whom I’m still in awe when I’m with him. I keep a vintage vinyl LP of his comedy album in my office as a kind of inspirational talisman – and yet I actually have Mike Nichol’s email address! In fact, whenever I get an email from Mike, I want to print it out and have it framed. He’s as funny in person as he was on TV in the 1960s, too. A few years ago, David Geffen invited us both onto his spectacular yacht, and as we sat down to dinner, I took in the sight of all David’s guests – each one famous and accomplished – and decided to initiate a game called “Who Has Met Whom?” Surely at least one member of this crowd had met just about any great twentieth-century figure you could think of. “Did anyone here ever meet Eleanor Roosevelt?” Warren Beatty responded, “Actually, I met Eleanor Roosevelt.” From the far end of the table, Mike called out, “Did you bang her?” 
The second story occurred just after Martin was cast by Lorne Michael in The Three Amigos:
The very day after meeting with Lorne, I was back in LA, headed to Steve Martin’s house in Beverly Hills to meet him and pick up the script. I have this philosophy around people I don’t know but am excited to meet that I call “immediate intimacy”. I do an impersonation of someone who is relaxed, loose, and not at all intimidated, in the hope that this impersonation will ultimately become reality. I had to – I was intimidated by Steve. I was this mere sketch-comedy guy, and he was Steve Martin, the most innovative standup comic of the 1970s, who had done so many great films. I was immediately overwhelmed upon arriving at Steve’s house. In one direction, there was a Picasso, in another an Edward Hopper. That’s when I blurted out, “How did you get so rich? Because I’ve seen the work.”

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Of Course They Did.

The Tyson Zone is a theory created by sportswriter Bill Simmons, in honor of Mike Tyson. When a celebrity’s reputation becomes so bizarre that any story about him is believable, he has entered the “Tyson Zone”. Like if you heard Mike Tyson urinated on a cop, or offered a zoo employee money to box a gorilla, you’d accept each as true.

Mike Tyson actually did offer a zoo employee money to box a gorilla.

And United actually killed and cremated a giant bunny. Are we surprised at all? If you think United mistreats its passengers, imagine being its legal team right now. It sucks to suck.

My only surprise is that we continue to fly this airline. We’re giving them permission to do anything they like. And the crazy-ass shit is getting worse.

I’m flying JetBlue next week, and I have complete faith that I, and my enormous bunny, will arrive in one piece.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

30 Seconds of April.

April was alcohol awareness month. Thanks, but I think we were all aware.

Very good month, and I captured it one second per day:
 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Beach City Of Stars.

Hey La La Land, remember when you gave us that fake happy ending and then took it away? How’d the Oscars feel?

Call us even. I love that movie, and was thrilled when I heard that on Sunday, Hermosa Beach, the filming location for a couple of scenes, was going to host a La La Land Day, in which musicians from the jazz club scenes would perform, and the prop lamp posts from the film would be temporarily reinstalled on the pier. (Eventually, Hermosa will make them a permanent addition.)

Here’s what they looked like in the film:

Here’s what they looked like yesterday:

If life truly imitates art, then life really needs to hurry up and create more moments like this.