Monday, December 31, 2018

Last Supper.

People who use vacation days the week after Christmas to have relatives over clearly don’t understand the meaning of the word “vacation”.

One last meal at Village Social, and my vacation is now over. I head back to LA today. The week always seems to go quickly, but I still packed in a lot. I went out with friends (in the suburbs, in the city and even New Jersey), took Ollie on seven-mile walks, went to and watched 10 movies and a play, and consumed a cajillion calories. That’s a good trip.

But as busy-ish as I tried to be every day, it was the relaxing break I needed. The week before Christmas was so hectic that I was getting up at 4:30 a.m. every day. Juxtapose that against last Monday here in New York, in which I got around to my morning tooth-brushing at 6 p.m. That’s a great trip.

Friday, December 28, 2018

To Kill A Mockingbird. A New Play By Aaron Sorkin.

Why do people romanticize the old days? Calm down – we still have milkshakes and racism.

But if you must – let Aaron Sorkin handle it. He rewrote To Kill a Mockingbird, and it just opened on Broadway. It was even better than I imagined.

He really rewrote it. so much so that Harper Lee’s estate sued him. Both parties settled, giving the estate a percentage of the profits. (It was a total money grab. Bottom line: Aaron Sorkin is the best writer ever – so much better than even Harper Lee.)

Six-year-old Scout is played by a 40-year-old actress. No explanation needed – you immediately get it, as she, her brother and their friend Dill become on-stage narrators. It’s unlike anything you’ve read in the book or seen in the movie. (And had to be done because real kids can’t handle this intricate dialogue.) It’s part of what makes the story all the more fascinating, with Sorkin finding the hilarious moments in this tragedy, and Jeff Daniels owning the stage.

I remember seeing The Social Network in a theater with fellow actors. At one point, I turned to them and saw them literally on the edge of their seats, leaning forward so as not to miss a word of Aaron Sorkin’s script. Last night was no different. It’s a two-hour and 35-minute play you wish went even longer. And hell yeah, I shouldn’t have snapped the above photo in the theater, but I did. Front row seats, for my hero. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

For Your Viewing And Avoiding-Relatives Pleasure.

You watch one movie with Christmas lights in the background, and then Netflix recommends 37 original holiday movies you may enjoy…

Or, just trust my already-been-viewed movies. I’ve watched seven in five days, including Green Book, in theaters now, and one of top three of the year. Can’t recommend seeing it enough.

On the flight here, I watched both Searching, also one of the best of the year (a great, very modern-day thriller), and Tag, an action-comedy that made me laugh out loud so many times, the woman sitting next to me inched away from me. Also viewed:

  • Nothing in Common – classic from the 80s. Jackie Gleason’s last role, and one of my friend John Kapelos’ first roles.
  • Bulletproof – 90s buddy comedy starring Adam Sandler and Damon Wayans. Best line, and it’s a dated one, but I’m stealing it anyway: “You fight like Peter McNeeley.” 
  • Vice – in theaters now. Christian Bale does Dick Cheney better than Dick Cheney does Cheney. 
  • Harper – Paul Newman detective flick written by William Goldman. So cool to see Santa Monica, Bel Air and Malibu in 1965.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas For The Jews.

You can tell a lot about a person by how early their neighbors call the cops on Christmas.

No calls were made concerning the Shevin household, partly because we behave, mainly because we’re Jews.

Doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate Christmas cheer. Like above – mass at the Church in which George and Barbara Bush were married.

Glazing a ham. Borders on anti-Semitism.

We also saw two movies in two days. Very Jewy. One of them was one of the best films of the year. More on that later. In the meantime, have the best Boxing Day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas.

I don’t know who’s worse – the people who sign their dogs’ names on Christmas cards, or the dogs who refuse to sign.

We’re all in. Merry Christmas.
Matt, Ricky, & Santa

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Five Stages of Christmas Travel.

  1. Denial 
  2. Anger 
  3. Strong language 
  4. Moderate violence 
  5. A lifetime ban from JFK Airport 

Luckily, my travel went smoothly, until I encountered the above woman at JFK playing something so sweetly, I told her I loved the song. She let me know she was just tuning her violin.

Happy holidays, Luellen. And, I’m sorry.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Home For The Holidays.

A cocker spaniel and an old-lady duvet can only mean one thing: I’m going to New York to visit my mom.

I leave tomorrow. Ollie Shevin in particular will be glad to see me so we can resume our daily six-mile walks.

I’ll take pictures, I’ll post blog entries, I’ll consume butter and sugar 24/7. See you there.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

I’m On A Boat.

Ladies, don't date him just because his dad has a yacht. Date his dad.

Especially if the yacht is as huge as the one I was on last night for a Christmas party. We cruised around Newport Beach during its annual Christmas boat parade. It was the best.

Up on the third deck, a fancy sit-down dinner. Or as I call it: “Wednesday”.

This boat, named “Wild Goose” belonged to John Wayne. He used to take Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Jackie Gleason fishing on it. That’s bad ass.

Santa asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I looked him dead in eye and said, “I already told you in my letter.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

She’ll Be Missed.

The only thing I want written on my tombstone is “I’m standing right behind you.”

Penny Marshall can etch a whole lot more. After starring in a huge sitcom, she had an amazingly impressive second act as a director, shooting great films like Big and A League of Their Own. (Which is completely timeless, and the highest grossing baseball movie of all time. It made more than twice as much as Field of Dreams.) Plus another classic: Awakenings, with Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams.

65 years in showbiz. She was a massive talent. Take her ex-husband Rob Reiner’s word for it. May all of our exes tall about us as glowingly:

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


I’m not quite sure why I live a block from the beach but have never learned to surf. Maybe it’s because I’m too busy. Or because I think “volunteer shark bait” is a much more accurate description of surfers.

Either way, yesterday’s waves were big and beautiful, and it occurred to me why for many of my neighbors, surfing is an addiction.

My iPhone is advertised in commercials with people surfing and kayaking, but here I am simply blogging in the shower. Maybe in 2019 I change it up.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Most Wonderful Time.

I don’t need Christmas gifts, because I buy myself all the presents I need. And because of my drinking, they’re often a surprise.

Give me holiday parties instead, like the one my friends Aina and Bru threw on Friday night. It was the nicest get-together, complete with my favorite people, super delicious food, and a yule log on the flat-screen. (It’s an HD yule log that’s 10 hours long, complete with the sound of logs crackling. You can find it on YouTube here.)

My third holiday party in seven days is coming up this week. Which means more egg nog, and subsequently more surprises coming my way.

Friday, December 14, 2018

In A Winter Wonderland.

The most unrealistic thing about Die Hard is that an office held a Christmas party on Christmas Eve.

Last night was the biggest corporate party night of the season (the evening traffic snarl proved it), and I went to a kickass party at a completely rented-out Bowlerama. That is, until I had to leave halfway through to drive an hour to a casting workshop. The sacrifice we make.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

An Excerpt. (And A Video.)

I love when I’m watching a commercial in which someone is rock climbing, and “DO NOT ATTEMPT” flashes across the screen. Me: (After not getting up from the couch in 12 hours): “Okay.”
Bryan Cranston was equally as clueless about rock climbing as me, until he auditioned for a commercial for Mars bars which required him to repel down a large rock. In his book, A Life in Parts, he wrote about fabricating his repelling experience to a casting director. He wound up getting a callback, in which he had to demonstrate some skills. He panicked, then asked a total dude working at an outdoor gear store to give him a crash course:
I met Chad up at Chatsworth Rocks, not far from my boyhood home. He pointed to the top of a boulder about forty feet high. “This stone is choice ’cause it’s got some gnarly vertical,” he said. We ascended four stories up. Chad tied a thick climber’s rope to a large boulder, then gave me a crash course before having me go the bottom of the rock to watch him. He descended effortlessly, springing off the face twice before floating gently to the ground. Totally gnarly. 
Then it was my turn. I had to gather all my courage just to hear Chad’s instructions. Both of my hands clutched the rope in front of my body and I wasn’t perpendicular to the rock. Instead, I was dangling, my face so close to the rock I could kiss it. Chad tried to assure me I wasn’t going to die. I stared at my hand and mentally commanded it to move. It didn’t. I felt a chaos spreading throughout my body. I was having a panic attack. I stared down at my hand and gave it one more stern command: MOVE, GODDAMN IT!  
Surprise! It did. My hand swung around back and grabbed the line behind me. I let the line out and back-stepped down the rock toward the ground. I made it, but in a sickening flash I had a desperate feeling in my bowels. I told Chad I needed to run back to my car. “Forgot something,” I said.  
I made it halfway back to the car before I got the feeling I was about to be opened up like the chest-bursting scene in Alien. I found a secluded spot and dropped trou.
I returned to the rock and made my way down it easier. The third time down I was shrieking like a child in a bounce house.  
Two days later, I was at the callback, up against four other guys. The casting session was held outside a three-story building. The first actor peered down, fearful. He took halting, stuttering steps down the face of the building. The producers and director whispered to each other and shook their heads in dismay.  
The second guy tried to outdo his predecessor by yodeling a few times, but his maneuvering was lethargic. The producers and director started to panic. My turn. I knew what they wanted, so I said, “I see the guys are using a double gold line through their figure-eight descenders. Is it alright if I hook up with a single?” They had no idea what I was saying. I barely knew what I was saying.  
I leapt backward off the ledge. After getting some significant air, I hit the middle of the building’s face like a bull’s-eye. I reloaded my legs and pushed off, soaring high into a 360-degree turn and landing back on the building. The part was mine. I knew it.
Two weeks later, I received directions to the location where we’d shoot the commercial. I shook my head. Chatsworth Rocks. I was a little cocky now, and as we were getting ready to roll, I told the producers, “You’re not going to believe this, but Chatsworth Rocks is where I first learned to repel.” 
Here’s Bryan’s commercial:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Make It Rain, Trinidad.

I’m just going to cut out the middle man and start cashing my paychecks at In-N-Out.

So keep the double-doubles coming, because my first residuals from “The Bold and the Beautiful” are coming in. Getting free, unexpected money in your mailbox is really swell.

Yes, I live paycheck to paycheck , but through hard work and perseverance I hope to soon live direct deposit to direct deposit.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Weekend Lowlights.

You could probably call my moodiness “Visa”, because it’s everywhere I want to be.

Perpetrator #1: I won’t get into specifics, but a cat pissed multiple times on my clothes. I drenched them with Nature’s Made and sprinkled on baking soda in an attempt to neutralize the otherwise permanent smell. That cat may actually get to live.

After an amazing Cinderella run through the playoffs, my nephew’s soccer team ran into a powerhouse and lost last night. Season over. 0 out of 5 stars. Would not recommend. Thank God it’s Monday. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

You Oughta See The Other Guy.

My dog still insists on acting happy around people, despite my example and training.

I left a towel for his dog walker to use on him yesterday after they walked in the rain. Then I received this text: “After I dried Ricky with the towel, he thought I was playing with him and grabbed the towel from me and ending up ripping it up pretty good. I apologize, and can replace if you need.”

Sean, absolutely not necessary. Not the first time, won’t be the last – I received the same text a couple years back from another dog walker.

Another day, another Bed Bath coupon processed.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Thrill.

Stalking gets a bad rap. I mean, aside from having to, by law, remain 30 feet from a certain telemarketer who I visited while he was eating his dinner, I don’t see the downside.

A better case in point: I had an audition for a commercial, and auditioning for a different spot was Marc Evan Jackson, who recurs on my favorite show, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”. He has 90 other credits to his name, including recurring on “The Good Place”. I nerded out.

I’d like to hope actors like Marc get a kick out of fellow actors like me telling them how much I love their work. He was very nice. Have heroes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Little On The Nose.

I usually pull into the “Expecting Mothers” parking spot at CVS, because I fully expect to lose my shit on one of the kids in there.

But when I shot my role on “The Bold and the Beautiful” on the CBS lot, I had a spot reserved with my name on it. Well, my character’s name – and it happened to be “Driver”.

Technically, six million others in LA were qualified to park there, but I got there first. Suckas.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

30 Seconds Of November.

The 250 million year old Himalayan salt I bought expired in November 2018.

Here are the other big moments of my month, one second per day:

Monday, December 3, 2018

My New Hobby.

I have a soap dispenser that says “pump” on the side, which is good, because without instructions, I was going to smash it against the floor to try to get the soap out.

But soon, it will be obsolete altogether, because I’ve decided to challenge myself in a new, odd way: I’m going to make soap.

And because I like to do things the hard way, I’m going to immortalize Ricky in this soap. So I sculpted his bust out of clay and I’m now preparing the mold. It’ll take over a week, with the layers of glue and latex I have to apply to it. (Plus, it SO toxic, what with the ammonia involved. I’m doing a lot of this outside.)

So it begins. With some painstaking work, soon I will be able to wash that boy’s mouth out with a likeness of himself.