Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Second Great Film Of The Year.

NEPHEW: “Do you like Minecraft?”
ME [trying to seem cool]: “I am interested in how mines are built, yes.”

It ain’t easy connecting with kids today. Even more difficult: being a kid. It was always tricky to feel like you fit in, but now Instagram has taken it into the stratosphere. See what you’re missing and feel left out in real time.

Eighth Grade is sad and cringeworthy and funny in the right places (you don’t need a superhero plot to keep you on the edge of your seat), and you’ll leave the theater a more compassionate adult – and that’s a very good thing these days.

Earlier in the day I saw the film, I offered condolences to my 19-year-old cashier at Trader Joe’s, whose co-worker had been killed by a stray police bullet last week. “This is the world we live in,” he said. Heart-breaking grownup cynicism, and unfortunately true. There are duck-and-cover drill scenes in Eighth Grade.

The movie is written and directed by Bo Burnham, one of my favorite comedians, who came out of nowhere as a scary-talented young genius who funded his own first special on YouTube. His standup style is loud and energetic, but always thoughtful, and his first film follows suit. Extra special for me: I saw Eighth Grade in the same spot – theater #7 at ArcLight Hollywood – I saw Ex Machina a few years ago, sitting behind Bo in the audience.

Can’t recommend this enough. See it, and bring along your kids. It’s a beautiful film.

Monday, July 30, 2018

I’m On TV Tomorrow.

For a month, I sat on a secret big enough that just the tip would be enough.

But now CBS is allowing me to share that I will be on “The Bold and the Beautiful” tomorrow.

It was so much fun to shoot. I’ll talk more about it after it airs.

Two scenes. Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Lesson In Sleep.

If you think about it, any bag is a sleeping bag if you have narcolepsy. And you’re in a bag. 

I can nap with the best of them. I’m a total uncle that way – every time I visit my niece and nephew, I pass out on their couch.

Not my most productive side, and this is made all the more evident in The Third Door, the book I’m currently reading. It’s the first-person story of a college student who went on a mission to interview some of the most successful people in the world and discover their secrets.

Here’s a passage I love:
Qi Lu grew up in a rural village outside of Shanghai China, with no running water or electricity. The village was so poor that people suffered deformities from malnutrition. At age 27, Qi was making the most money he’d ever earned – seven dollars a month. Fast forward twenty years, he’s president of online services at Microsoft.  
How did he do it? In college at Fudan University in Shanghai, he had a realization that changed his life.  
He began thinking about time. Particularly, the amount of time he felt he wasted in bed. He was sleeping eight hours a night, but then he realized that one thing in life doesn’t change: whether you’re a rice farmer or the president of the United States, you only get twenty-four hours in a day.  
He read about notable people who’d reengineered their sleep patterns, and set out to create his own system. First, he cut out one hour of sleep, then another. And another. At one point, he was down to a single hour a night. He forced himself awake with ice-cold showers, but he wasn’t able to sustain it. Eventually, he found that the least sleep he could optimally function on was four hours a night.  
I saw it less as a quirky experiment and more as a means of survival. Think about it. With so many brilliant college students in China, how else could Qi have found an edge to break through? If you cut 8 hours of sleep down to 4, then multiply the time saved by days, that equals, 1,460 extra hours – or 2 additional months of productivity per year.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Repurposed.

I was really proud of my new cooler (it holds 84 cans!) that I purchased for my upcoming pilot shoot, but then I learned the studio in which we’re shooting prefers you use only use their fridges for drinks. Bummer.

And then I realized that if you put the right stickers on a cooler and walk as fast as you can, they’ll let you into any part of a hospital you want. Keeping it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

In Which I Visit I Visit The Orange County Fair. Part II.

Every time a woman sees two-day old piglets, I have to talk their ovaries down like a hostage negotiator.

You wouldn’t think an orange-chicken burrito would work, but it doesn’t.

If by “crunches” you mean the sound homemade potato chips make when you chew them, then yes, I do crunches.

The weather for the fair is always sweltering, so much respect for the carnies who installed AC units into every car on the ferris wheel.

Monday, July 23, 2018

In Which I Visit I Visit The Orange County Fair. Part I.

Life truly is like a roller coaster; there are ups and downs, you often feel like vomiting, and afterward, weird pictures of you surface online.

We hit the fair on Saturday, which allowed me to make like Henry VIII. (Turkey-leg eating; not wife head chopping off.)

Much respect to this guy for trying to get rid of the “please don’t feed this animal” sign one nibble at a time.

My nephew and his best friend loved the water flume so much, I’m going to start throwing cups of water in their faces when they least expect it.

Cut back on carbs by putting ramen noodles inside the burrito.

What would Jesus do? Infringe NBA copyright laws.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Ay Dios Mio.

Queso is served. Five feet from the Food 4 Less.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Fare Thee Well.

I ate a bowl of Fruit Loops once, and then needed 300 stitches in my mouth.

My foot didn’t require quite as many, but it’s been an uncomfortable two weeks. Thank god the stitches come out today.

Truth be told, a couple have already come out prematurely. But it’s okay – my dad was a foot surgeon, and I’m used to disappointing them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Viet Nom Nom.

I’m always anxious when I eat at a pho restaurant, because I’m not sure by my waitress’ facial reaction if I asked for a fork or killed her entire family.

I braved it anyway yesterday with my good friend Joe. He refers to me as Matty McShevin, and I love everything about it.

And I highly recommend Pho Hoan My. They make the best #57 in all the greater Winnetka area.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Book I Just Started, But Am Wholly Recommending.

Me: “I need to read more books.”
Me (after seeing a text that’s longer than two sentences): “Holy shit, I just do not have the time for this.”

However, my friend Mark recently recommended a new book that sounded so fascinating, I immediately bought it. I’m just 40 pages in, and it’s holding up to its publisher’s billing:
The larger-than-life journey of an 18-year-old college freshman who set out from his dorm room to track down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg, and dozens more of the world’s most successful people to uncover how they broke through and launched their careers. 
The book starts with Alex Banayan needing to fund his mission, so his first step: hack “The Price is Right.” Yes, please.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Playing Hurt.

Friday: my post-surgery, above-the-belt film audition.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Just Add Scissors And YouTube.

A girl once asked me if I wanted to play doctor. I said sure, and made her wait in two different rooms for 45 minutes.

Last night, I played doctor on myself, after I disobeyed my surgeon’s orders to not get the stitches wet (I’m not going to skip showering for one day, let alone two weeks) and my bandage became bunched up badly.

So I rewrapped it myself. Not too shabby, I must say. And thank god, because the earliest I can see myself again is late August.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Role I Was Born To Play.

If I wasn’t watching Jets games, I’d spend my Sundays in church, waiting for everyone to bow their heads in prayer so I could check the Jets’ score.

In my inbox earlier this week was this casting notice:


My eyes popped out of my head. Then I forwarded it to my friend Jeff, a fellow Jets fan, and his response was rich: “I’d say you’re too good-looking and have too few pounds and tattoos.”

A challenge. So I submitted myself for it, including a heartfelt note which read “I’m a huge Jets fan from New York!!”, and now I wait. If the casting process were any slower and more unreliable, it would be playing quarterback for the Jets.

Bring me in.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Piloting.

I got a text from an unknown number that said “Game on”. It’s either a wrong number, or someone wants to wear my skin like a suit.

Or, it could be one of a flurry of texts I’ve been receiving this week as I make major strides in the pre-production of my pilot. I start shooting a month from tomorrow, and I’ve been locking down locations, pulling permits, and hiring crew. I love it.

My parents always taught me to pursue my dreams. That’s why I take so many naps. Kidding. Barely sleeping. I love it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Heart – And My Head – Exploded.

It’s easy to presume dogs are dumb. But what if they’re way smarter than we think, and they just play dumb so they don’t have to work or pay taxes?

Then there’s Ricky. The other night, he had a very upset stomach, and was aware enough to wake me up every hour to let him out, so he could do his mess outside. But with the surgery on my foot scheduled in the morning, I worried about leaving him alone.

I returned later that day to find that Ricky had had an accident, but somehow knew to slip into my shower and have it there, so he wouldn’t ruin my floors and I could easily clean it up. I was overwhelmed.

Good boy? Great boy.

Monday, July 9, 2018

You Should See The Other Guy.

Ketchup makes everything better… I thought, as I poured some on my foot.

Turns out not a cure. So on Friday, I had surgery on my foot to fix an old injury. I then spent the weekend elevating it and attempting to keep the bandage dry in the shower. Mission accomplished/horrible failure.

And talk about adding insult to injury – my neighbor John told me my foot looks fat in that post-op shoe. But on the bright side, I only have to wash half as many socks, and on the really bright side, I’m not a horse.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

God Shed His Grace On Thee.

Let’s not forget the true meaning of Independence Day: celebrating the defeat of the aliens that blew up the White House after Will Smith attacked them.

But nothing is more American than the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest, and yesterday, a new record was set: 74 hot dogs in ten minutes. I bet my nephew who would win, fully disclosing the contest had happened earlier and I knew the result.

He bet me anyway, and owed me 15 pushups. It’s like hosting a knife fight in geometry class.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

And Then, Depression Set In.

I promised myself I was not going to cry today. And I have already broken that promise five times.

My nephew’s all-star season came to a close, as they were knocked out of their tournament. There was crying all around, but these tykes do it at the drop of a hat. They’ll slide into second base, be called out, and are bawling before they stand up, worried they let their teammates down. It’s kinda sweet. Kids really access their feelings.

But hey, it’s California. There’ll be another season in like ten days. Enjoy your offseason, dummies.

Monday, July 2, 2018

30 Seconds Of June.

My niece said her school requires 1,000 pages of summer reading, so I handed her a receipt from CVS.

She’s one month in. And here’s my first month of summer, one second per day: