Friday, November 30, 2018

There’s A Lesson In This.

Don’t even get me started about my last laptop. That piece of junk was costing me 100 bucks a month in duct tape alone.

My newer one was in phenomenal shape, until Sunday night. I was told it would take seven to ten days to fix, but Apple did it in two. Outstanding.

On the other hand, something interesting happened while I had idle hands: I realized my next skill challenge. A couple years ago, I grew a new lawn from seed. Earlier this year, I taught myself to cook, and then how to paint. My new obsession has had me collecting the tools I’ll need all over town.

An MRI exam of my head might reveal an inner space of a circuit board, a kit car, a distillery, and a Sears Catalog Home. Makes sense.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What Blogging This Week Feels Like.

Whenever my laptop breaks down, and someone tells me I should give it to the IT guy, I throw it in the sewer and let the clown have at it.

My MacBook was working again, but then it wasn’t. So I brought it to the antithesis of clowns: the Apple Genius bar. I need a new logic board, and it’ll take seven to ten days. That Ashton Kutcher made a faulty product.

So I’m typing this on my iPhone, which is far from user friendly. More like user enemy. My thumbs are fat. Bear with me. Hurry, Apple. This blows donkey.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Culinary Corner.

From now on, whenever I’m talking to someone and I realize he isn’t quite there, I’m going to think: “His cornbread ain’t done in the middle.”

I was going to go the easy route four our huge Thanksgiving feast, but then I was in the supermarket and realized A) I taught myself how to cook/bake this year, and B) my nephew absolutely loves cornbread. So I made a buttermilk cornbread.

The key is in the stirring – keep going until the lumps are almost gone. The result: semi-sweet yumminess. And, If you think about it, just add hotdogs and sticks and you’ve got instant corn dogs. Bon appétit.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Not Today.

Like a recovering crack addict, my laptop is broken, and I can only use others in small doses.

There will be no post today. I am at the Apple Store as we speak. Forgive me. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Born On Thanksgiving.

My dog acts like he’s always auditioning to be my best friend. I’m like “Dude, you already got the part. You can relax.”

Tomorrow is my best friend’s birthday, and I gave him his gift in advance: a fancy, new collar. He prefers beach motifs.

Seven years old. Big boy.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

I Give Thanks.

If you had the Thanksgivings I had growing up, you’d also refer to it as “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

Here are a few of the things I’m thankful for this year:

  • Anthropomorphized Alvin the Chipmunk 
  • My horse valentine 
  • My new potato ricer 
  • Ricky Williams sitting in coach 
  • $34 for four slices of pizza 
  • Dessert that took 5½ hours to make 
  • The tree that smashed my mom’s house 
  • My rapper name: Kid Pizza 
  • The color-coordinated Easter photo 
  • Ridiculous t-shirts of fellow gym members 
  • Ollie Shevin peeing on a law firm’s landscaping
  • My negative pregnancy test 
  • Virgin Raisinettes 
  • My $19 million net worth

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Training Table Tuesday.

It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means one thing: break out your brown shirt for preemptive gravy spills.

And yesterday, it became an annual tradition for me. I ate ¾ of a chicken pot pie, in anticipation of tomorrow. Once again, I am ready.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Few Of My New Favorite Things.

TRADER JOE’S THANKSGIVING SAMPLE? I walked there so fast, the noise from my corduroys broke everyone’s eyeglasses.

My Dinner with Hervé. Tragic, a fascinating true story, and great performances by Peter Dinklage and Jamie Dornan. Catch it on HBO right now.
This tweet. If it doesn’t move you a lot, just unfriend me.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

My Annual Pitch.

FYI: you’re not allowed to donate blood if you’ve listened to Insane Clown Posse in the last six months.

Or if you’ve gotten a tattoo recently, or had the flu. Other than that, I’m here to convince you you should.

I give regularly. With the fires and mass shootings increasing, there’s never been a better time. Here’s why I started: years ago, my father was about to undergo a major heart surgery, and the surgeon mentioned it might be smart to have people we know donate blood for him just in case. My big brother, who was working for an ad agency in New York at the time, asked his coworkers, and they showed up and donated en masse. I was overwhelmed. I’ve donated every eight weeks since.

Here’s why you should as well:

  1. Many of us want to give back, but don’t have the funds. This is a free, fast way to make a big difference. 
  2. It doesn’t hurt. (And if you drink lots of water every day like me, you’re done really quickly.) 
  3. You get lots of juice and cookies and Welch’s fruit snacks after. All name-brand shit.
  4. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s nice to have nurses fuss all over you while you’re not even the least bit ill. 
  5. The more blood you donate, the less and less related you’ll be to some of your relatives. 

I can’t promise the last one is true, but it can’t hurt. Literally. Oh, and apparently when you donate blood, it has to be YOUR blood. Trust me on this one, and thank you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Mid-Editing Plug Of My Sitcom.

Life is short. Beat it up and steal its lunch money.

And then invest that money in yourself. I did, and shot the pilot of “Hucksters”, the sitcom I always wanted to make. While it’s in heavy editing right now, here as a preview are a few shots from the shoot:

While laying on the grass, shooting a cool overhead scene, the sprinkler system suddenly went off on Ben Pace and me. The LA Parks and Rec rep assigned to us was mortified, but we assured her we got a kick out of it. Truth be told, it cost a fortune to shoot in that park, but better to keep the rep on your good side.

While the rest of us enjoy a little bit of downtime, director Jared Cohn doesn’t like to sit still. So in between his dozens of gigs this year, he got his drone pilot’s license. His ADD is our blessing.

When you work on a Matt Shevin production, no expense is spared. A $400 Panda Express lunch. I ate leftover orange chicken for a month.

You wear a lot of hats when you produce, including assisting ace hair/makeup artist Alisha Babbington as she applied duct tape to the mouth of actor Steven Anders. Ah, the glamour of showbiz.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

He’ll Be Very Much Missed.

Between Avengers: Infiniti War, Black Panther, and Venom, I’ve seen around 5 billion people die this year. A personal best.

I can’t take the credit; at least a little has to go to Stan Lee. Stan unfortunately passed away yesterday, and it’s a bigger bummer than usual. You see, there are celebrities, and then there are the larger-than-life, universally-beloved celebrities. Stan’s cameos always evoked an audible response in theaters, and it was nice. I saw him walking in Beverly Hills last year and almost had to change my pants. 

Betty White, Vin Scully, Stan Lee. Some of it is simple longevity (they’re all in their 90s, but maybe the longevity comes from living well and commanding respect. Stan seemed like a gentle man, who was truly enjoying his success. Always respectable: he was married for 70 years before his wife passed last year.

My friend Rob, a columnist/novelist, summed it up well:

Monday, November 12, 2018

More Than Close To Home.

Courtney, a close family friend, recently moved into her boyfriend’s house in Malibu with her son. Thursday, they evacuated. Friday, her boyfriend went back to help people in the neighborhood, checked in on his house, and it was burned to the ground. Below is video.

 

It was a real shit week here in Southern California, but we’re a lot tougher than you think, and it can only get better. It will. Hang in there, Courtney.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Air Crafted.

Christmas decorating 101: putting fake snow on Halloween decorations.

But LAX is in the accelerated program, putting snowflakes on the giant signage by the airport. For real. Check them out closely — the flakes are comprised of airplane shapes. Bar set.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

An Excerpt.

Revenge is a dish best served with a laxative that looks like chocolate. 

But that’s just me. Bryan Cranston’s experience was different. I’m a third of the way through his autobiography, and it’s fascinating. Dig this: when Bryan was in high school, he worked odd jobs to help his mom make ends meet. At one point, he worked for a very stodgy house painter, who one night had a strange request. He picked up Bryan in his truck and pulled up to a fence behind a home. He handed Bryan a brown paper bag filled with something, and asked him to stand up in the back of the truck and toss it over the fence into a pool. Here’s Bryan’s recap:
I took a deep breath and I tossed it high into the air. It felt good. It looked good. It WAS good! Right in the middle of the pool. I scampered down and got into the truck’s cab, and Jim drove off. I asked for an explanation. Jim nodded and smiled. “Inside the bag was dried India ink,” he said. When the paper got saturated and fell apart, the powder would expand and bloom and spread throughout the pool, finally settling on the plaster siding and bottom and permanently staining it. The owners would have to drain the pool and sandblast the entire surface to remove it. He explained that he’d painted that house nearly a year ago. He’d tried again and again to get them to pay, but no dice. This was his way of closing the account.  
On another occasion, Jim picked me up and we went to a small market, where he grabbed six whole mackerels. We drove to an unoccupied two-story modern in the Hollywood Hills. Jim told me to grab the ten-foot ladder as he retrieved a hidden key from a planter near the back door. He pointed to a spot on the middle of the upstairs hall, and told me to climb up the ladder and open an air-conditioning intake grill. As I did, I looked down and saw Jim removing the wax paper from the mackerel.  
He calmly instructed me to throw the first one inside the AC ducting as far as I could. We heard it slide maybe twenty feet away. He handed me another fish and told me to send it down a different duct. I threw three fish in three directions, then we moved downstairs to another intake and I repeated the steps. As we drove away in silence, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and asked what it had all been about. “No other fish stinks like mackerel when it rots,” he said. They’d only expunge the smell by replacing the air conditioning ducts and compressors. The whole system. It was another nonpayment situation. I asked if he ever tried small claims court. He smiled wider than I’d ever seen him smile. “We just did.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sacrilicious.

Way to keep it “authentic”, Agra Tandoori Indian restaurant in Tarzana.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Bloody Yes.

I’d like to thank the British for wearing red coats and making it easier to shoot them 242 years ago. We couldn’t have done this without you.

In fact, I’ll thank them in person. You see, every summer my friends and I pick a city to I meet and see our Yankees play a road series, and this June, the Yanks play the Red Sox in London. We’re going.

Even better, the day after the series ends, Wimbledon begins, which we plan on attending as well. I believe the key to happiness is always having things to look forward to. Done and done.

Monday, November 5, 2018

31 Seconds Of October.

In the entire month of October, I only beat the shit out of two motion-activated skeletons at store entrances.

That’s a good month. And here it is, one second per day:
 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fitting.

Animals who have bright colors and patterns in the wild are considered dangerous and shouldn’t be messed with.

That pretty much defines my wardrobe. If you’ve met me, you know I like the fancy shirts. And when I bought the above one online, I liked the cuffs, even though I couldn’t quite make out the design. 

Then the shirt arrived, and I loved it. It’s an image of the “fake” landing on the moon, complete with cameras, crew, and stage lights. With Neil Armstrong so strongly on my mind after I loved First Man, it’s perfect. Happily sporting it soon.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trick-Or-Treater Greeter.

Life hack: just give your next-door neighbor a giant bag of candy to dump in your kid’s trick or treat bucket on Halloween, so you can go home after one house.

It was a very nice night. It combines Ricky’s two favorite things: kids, and giving out Nerds.